The Fictional Online Creature That Drove Two 12-year old Girls to Stab Their Friend

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The Fictional Online Creature That Drove Two 12-year old Girls to Stab Their Friend

And you let your child go on-line?

Warning by Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack:

Keeping our children safe is more challenging now, than in years past. The internet has changed the way we live. It is full if information and wonderful sights that teach and entertain.

The internet can also be full of dark and wicked things. It has also provided an opportunity for potential child predators to reach our children like never before.

Unmonitored and unrestricted access to the internet by children is a growing and alarming problem. This should be a wake-up call for parents. Parents are strongly encouraged to restrict and monitor their children's internet usage.

We must also remember that on-line is much more than just spending time on the computer. Now smart phones and even video games are completely connected to the outside world.

Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers that exist on-line.

Here is the article:

The Fictional Online Creature That Drove 2 Young Girls to Stab Their Friend

June 4, 2014

By Brian Ries

A 12-year-old girl was stabbed 19 times by two of her friends, both 12 years old, this weekend who say they were inspired by a mythical Internet creature known as Slender Man.
What follows is Mashable's explanation of this horrific case and the mystery surrounding the bizarre online avatar that allegedly drove the girls' motives.

What happened?

The girls, Morgan G. and Anissa W. of Waukesha, Wisconsin, lured the 12-year-old victim into the woods on Saturday for a game of hide-and-seek after a slumber party the previous night.
"Once there, one suspect held down the victim while the other suspect stabbed the victim 19 times in the arms, legs and torso," Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said. "Many of the stab wounds hit major organs, but incredibly and thankfully, the victim survived this brutal assault."

The victim was left to die and eventually crawled out of the woods where she was found, bleeding, by a cyclist.

The suspects were found nearby and taken into custody. The victim, police say, is lucky to be alive. She is recovering in a Waukesha County-area hospital, where she is reported to be in stable condition.

The girls told police they did it for Slender Man.

Slender who?

Slender Man is being called everything from "an online horror meme" and "a paranormal figure" to a "fictional web site character," a "fictional demon-like creature" and a "character conceived on an Internet forum."

Slender Man's origin story starts with a "paranormal pictures" Photoshop contest held on the Something Awful web forum in June 2009, according to the meme-tracking website Know Your Meme. A user named Victor Surge is widely credited with its creation, posting black-and-white images -- with creepy captions -- that showed a tall, faceless creature stalking children.

From there, Slender Man spread to 4chan's paranormal board, where users created a plethora of hand-drawn images of the creature, and eventually landed on Creepypasta, a site where amateur horror writers can submit stories and get instant feedback from fans of the genre.
The site's administrator has since issued this statement on the stabbing: "most people don't watch Hannibal and turn into serial killers."

"I don't believe that it's the fault of Slenderman or horror writing in general that this happened," the administrator wrote. "I remember reading scary stories and watching slasher movies when I was a child and young teenager and while they certainly gave me nightmares, they did not instill within me a desire to murder my friends."

Fans of Slender Man have created YouTube videos, long-form fiction, and an endless amount of fan art over the years. Slender Man has become a true amalgam of a horror figure that lives in the minds of millions of Internet horror fans, a boogeyman for a generation that grew up on the web.

"There is not just one Internet site they were accessing to get this information. There are multiple websites of a similar nature that deal with the particular incident," Jack, the police chief, said.

What does Slender Man have to do with the attempted murder?

The girls told police that they committed the crime as a sacrifice to Slender Man, believing that if they killed their friend they would become one of his "proxies." When asked why, the girls reportedly said they had to do it -- or "he" would kill their families.

The girls believed "Slender," as they affectionally called him, lived in a mansion in a nearby national park where they would retreat to after killing their friend to become one of the fictional character's proxies, a status only attained once a murder has been committed (according to at least one story the girls allegedly read).

When picked up by the police, one of the girls reportedly said, "It was weird that I didn't feel remorse." The other: "The bad part of me wanted her to die. The good part of me wanted her to live."

What happens now?

The girls have been charged as adults for plotting to kill their friend, and are being held on $500,000 bond each. If convicted, they each face up to 65 years in prison. Defense lawyers are attempting to get the case moved to juvenile court, where the proceedings would occur in anonymity.

Jack says the incident should serve as a wake-up call for parents.

"Parents are strongly encouraged to restrict and monitor their children's Internet usage," he said. "We must also remember that online is much more than just spending time on the computer, now smartphones and even video games are completely connected to the outside world. Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers that exist online."

http://mashable.com/2014/06/03/slender-man-meme-history/

Liz Woolley

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Waukesha police news

Waukesha police news conference by Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack:

On Saturday, May 31, 2014 at approximately 9:50 a.m., the Waukesha police department was notified by a concerned citizen that a 12 year old girl was stabbed in the area of Big Bend road in the city of Waukesha. The Waukesha police and fire departments responded and located the girl. The Waukesha fire department transported her to the Waukesha Memorial hospital where she was treated for her injuries. The Waukesha police department is deeply saddened that this 12 year old girl had to suffer through this horrific crime.

We are pleased to report she is in stable condition.

Victim was friends with the suspects and all three attended the same middle school. All three of the girls are 12 years old. Both suspects had a fascination with a fictitious character that often posted to a website that is a collection of small stories about death and horror.

Based on our investigation, it is believe that the suspects had planned to kill the victim for several months.

The three girls had a sleep over at the house of one of the suspects on Saturday night of May 30. In the morning, the suspects went to David's park and lured the victim into the woods near Big Bend road, south of Rivera drive to play a game. Once there, one suspect held the victim down while the other suspect stabbed her 19 times in the arms, legs and torso. Many of the stab wounds struck major organs but incredibly and thankfully, the victim survived this brutal assault.

Suspects left the area on foot.

The victim was able to crawl out of the woods onto the roadway near the end of Big Bend road where she was discovered by a bicyclist. She was transported to the Waukesha Memorial hospital by the Waukesha fire department where she underwent surgery for her injuries.

We continued to search the wooded area for the missing two girls with the assistance of the Waukesha country sheriff's department, the town of Brookville police department and Flight for Life. We wish to extend our sincere appreciation for their assistance.

Suspects were located near 94 at 2:24 p.m. by a Waukesha county sheriff's department where they were both taken into custody without incident. We are pleased about the abundant cooperation and team work between our department and the Waukesha county sheriff's department.

Both suspects are being held on charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Both are expected to be charged in court today at 1:30 p.m. To respect the integrity of the investigation we will not be releasing details that could compromise the prosecution. Also we are continuing our investigation in several areas.

Keeping our children safe is more challenging now, than in years past. The internet has changed the way we live. It is full if information and wonderful sights that teach and entertain.

The internet can also be full of dark and wicked things. It has also provided an opportunity for potential child predators to reach our children like never before.

Unmonitored and unrestricted access to the internet by children is a growing and alarming problem. This should be a wake-up call for parents. Parents are strongly encouraged to restrict and monitor their children's internet usage.

We must also remember that on-line is much more than just spending time on the computer. Now smart phones and even video games are completely connected to the outside world.

Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers that exist on-line.

http://mashable.com/2014/06/03/slender-man-meme-history/?utm_content=feature_title&utm_cid=mash-prod-email-topstories&utm_emailalert=daily&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily

Liz Woolley

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I am tired and my soul is

I am tired and my soul is sickened by these news stories!!!

Are you sure violent media has NO EFFECT on your child's mind? Are we going to bury our heads in the sand as we watch more innocent kids be slaughtered by their peers? I am really fed up with this while parents allow their kids to indulge and stuff their minds with violent junk!

This is why in my family, we lock down the Internet, turn off the Internet at night, do not give our kids smartphones, lock down all our iPads and mobile devices, and we've cancelled cable. Call us "amish", but my 1st grader reads at 5 grade level, 15 y.o. girl sings, writes music & is an amazing writer, and my 17 y.o. boy is arranging college visits and home visits with Track & Field Coaches.

We're not boasting. As a family, we're trying to get families to "get it", but I have parents who physically cover their ears while I speak to them! Why? Because parents seek easy, digital babysitters for their children.

What's the result? We're raising a generation of VIDIOTS, without empathy, without reflective thought, without creativity, and violent kids. These VIDIOTS are also low hanging fruit for sex predators because VIDIOTS lack discernment and critical thinking skills!

You don't have to listen and you don't have to "trust" the scientific research we provide you; however, I am certain you only lower the bar for all other kids to beat your kid for a college admission, scholarship, and future job. How do I know? Julie Lavier Doan Melanie Hempe, and I work with parents and answer emails around the country AND we all see stories here on OLGA regarding:

"why did my child fail out of life due to excessive video gaming and Internet use?"

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

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This is an update to this

This is an update to this case:

Girl Accused in 'Slender Man' Stabbing Says She Talks to Unicorns and Voldemort

By MEGHAN KENEALLY AND KELLEY ROBINSON

Girl Accused in 'Slender Man' Stabbing to Appear in Court

One of two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing their friend so they could meet the fictional character "Slender Man" simply shrugged today before a judge ruled that she was incompetent to stand trial.

Morgan Geyser had been found not competent by two prior evaluations and today was found incompetent to stand trial by a judge. Geyser and Anissa Weier, both 12, are charged with first degree attempted murder after prosecutors said they lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times.

Geyser was seen fidgeting in her seat and playing with her hair during the hearing, even pulling a blond strand directly in front of her face at one point. She smiled while watching Weier being led out of the room.

Two mental health professionals gave testimony in the Waukesha County Courthouse today, speaking about their evaluations of Geyser before Judge Michael Bohren ruled that she is unfit to stand trial.

Dr. Brooke Lundbohm, who evaluated Geyser on June 18, 2014, said that Geyser's unusual behavior- including what she said was nonsensical rambling and inappropriate, near-hysterical laughter - contributed to her decision that Geyser is incompetent.

Lundbohm said that Geyser spoke with her at length about fictional characters she believes in including unicorns, Slender Man, and Harry Potter villain Voldemort, who Geyser reportedly called "Voldy." She added that Geyser claims that she has Vulcan Mind Control.

Dr. Kenneth Robbins also examined Geyser and told the court that Geyser told him she has to be careful about what she says because she believes speaking about Slender Man could cause him to harm her or her family.

Robbins said Geyser claims she and Slender Man can communicate telepathically and Lundbohm said Voldemort "gives her direction."

Both doctors concluded that the pre-teen does not appear to understand the seriousness of her charge, and that was echoed in court when she shrugged as the judge asked if she was competent to assist her attorneys.

The mental health experts said Geyser's parents described her as a bright student who got good grades and had no behavioral issues at school except one time when she brought a mallet to class.

Weier, Geyser's alleged co-conspirator, was also in court today because her legal team unsuccessfully tried to argue that they should be given hard copies of Geyser's mental evaluations. Weier has not had to undergo any mental evaluations of her own because her attorneys have not yet requested one.

Geyser and Weier are being tried as adults because Wisconsin law dictates that anyone above the age of 10 charged with first degree murder or attempted murder will not be considered juveniles.

The 12-year-old victim, who has not been identified because of her age, was said to have nearly died from her wounds, but has since been released from the hospital and her parents recently released new details about her recovery.

"She's doing great," family spokesperson and media adviser for the Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. law firm Stephen Lyon told ABC News. He also thanked supporters for contributing to a Hearts For Healing fund to cover the victim's medical expenses. "She's healing well. Both physically and emotionally she's getting better."

https://gma.yahoo.com/girl-accused-slender-man-stabbing-says-she-talks-184523024--abc-news-topstories.html

Liz Woolley

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Speaks to Voldemort too huh?

Speaks to Voldemort too huh? Which means the kid is reading books and fantasizes about those characters too? So much for the theory that it has anything to do with video technology or games.
Mentally unstable, what a surprise! Not just a "vidiot"!

I mean unless of course we should start hiding all books that aren't "wholesome" from our children too? Locking them away just in case it drives our kids to murder!

I could be wrong of course, maybe the kids just watched the movies

A wise man once told me to shutup.
\\ Free from games since 03.13.2014 //

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I am watching my own

I am watching my own grandchildren. They are playing games all of the time - pokiman, legos, video games. The oldest seems to be fine. The young one is so into fantasy, he does not know what is real and is not. He thought dogs could be his parents (for real)..... He was only 8, but man, oh man!

The oldest did not know that there were bones in chickens. (He was 10.) Apparently, he had only eaten fast food chicken, chicken nuggets or chicken breasts all of his life. Once, I gave him a real chicken leg and he bit into the bone and had a fit. He refused to finish eating it.

The thing that really bothers me about this case is first, it happened in Wisconsin - so close to home (where I am from), and second the girl doesn't think she really did anything that bad.

Both doctors concluded that the pre-teen does not appear to understand the seriousness of her charge, and that was echoed in court when she shrugged as the judge asked if she was competent to assist her attorneys.

I think they see so much of it, they don't know what is real and what isn't. There are the games, and the news. Which is real?

Liz Woolley

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It's a real tough situation.

It's a real tough situation. I mean, I'd think parents should be responsible for teaching their kids the difference between reality and fantasy. A parent can't see everything that's going on in a kid's mind no doubt, but they should at least have a glimpse into potential issues.
I just honestly don't think violent media or tv or games or any "thing" can reasonably be pointed to as the cause for tragedies like this. There's always something else going on there, sadly.

A wise man once told me to shutup.
\\ Free from games since 03.13.2014 //

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Ascender wrote: It's a real
Ascender wrote:

It's a real tough situation. I mean, I'd think parents should be responsible for teaching their kids the difference between reality and fantasy. A parent can't see everything that's going on in a kid's mind no doubt, but they should at least have a glimpse into potential issues.
I just honestly don't think violent media or tv or games or any "thing" can reasonably be pointed to as the cause for tragedies like this. There's always something else going on there, sadly.

The problem is that a child's brain, in particular, the frontal lobes where right and wrong is understood are not fully developed until age 25. Here is a video where my wife and I explain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvDgPKh6Yi0

SO, "anything" will influence the child's thoughts: books, movies, and video games.

However, Books and Movies are merely "immersive" AND usually have redemptive value, e.g. few books/movies are just about violence for no reason - there is a moral, redemptive lesson to the story.

Video Games are immersive, provide achievement, and social interaction, similar to the Slenderman "make believe games". Many violent games have little or no redemptive lesson. Because the video games cause arousal through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, releasing cortisol, what is being learned during game play is encoded in the brain more effectively as cortisol mediates hardwiring of memory through epigenetic expression!

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

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  I kind of have to agree

I kind of have to agree with Ascender here and all though I agree that the outside influences can have a negative effect there is something else going on. Or maybe better lack of something is going on. I admit my wife has done a much better job than me teaching our kids right from wrong (largely due to my gaming addiction) but both of us have made an effort to limit what and how much our kids are exposed to. I am sure it will get harder the older they get and the more freedom they get but you still have a lot of time to instill these values when they are young. Something was lacking for these girls to be loose sight of what is reality and what is fantasy.Sure the outside influences helped facilitate this but something was missing in their reasoning to let it get this far even before the influences It is very sad how this ended. Hopefully they will get the help they need.

"Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift, Thats why it's called the Present"

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I tend to agree with

I tend to agree with Ascender.

This tragic slenderman incident falls under the

"Fallacy of the single cause (causal oversimplification[29]) - it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

By the way, I think American culture is saturated with violence and I'm against it....I just don't think random violence saturation is the ONLY explanation here.

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Update-'Slender Man' stabbing victim speaks publicly first time.

This is an update of a true story that happened in a local town in Wisconsin, not far from where I live. This shows how "fictional on-ine characters" can become real to some people.

'Slender Man' stabbing victim speaks publicly for first time.

October 4, 2019 [Good Morning America] KELLEY ROBINSON,Good Morning America 2 hours 24 minutes ago

'Slender Man' stabbing victim speaks publicly for first time: 'Without the whole situation, I wouldn't be who I am' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

Until now, Payton Leutner had never spoken publicly about what happened to her in the woods at the hands of her best friend and another classmate.

Her scars -- from the 19 times she was stabbed on May 31, 2014 -- testify to that moment of betrayal. But, they also mark her incredible strength to survive.

"I've come to accept all of the scars that I have," Leutner said in an exclusive interview with ABC's David Muir. "It's just a part of me. I don't think much of them. They will probably go away and fade eventually."

Leutner survived an attack that captured headlines worldwide after her assailants, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, claimed they did it to please a fictional character named "Slender Man." Leutner, Geyser and Weier were all 12 years old at the time.

(MORE: Who Is Slender Man? Fictional Horror Character Explained) Slenderman is the fictitious, modern-day equivalent of the Boogeyman for the internet generation. Victor Surge created Slender Man. https://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/slender-man-fictional-horror-character-explained-25767149

"20/20," which has followed Leutner’s case closely since her attack as well as her recovery for years, spoke with her parents exclusively in 2014. Leutner, who was still recovering after the stabbing, appeared alongside her parents on "20/20" but chose not to speak out at that time.

Now 17, Leutner has worked hard over the last five years to heal and rebuild a normal life. She told ABC News that she was ready to reclaim her story.

"I feel like it's time for people to see my side rather than everyone else's," she said.

Payton, Morgan and Anissa become friends

In 2014, Leutner was a sixth-grader in Waukesha, Wisconsin, when Geyser and Weier attacked her after a slumber party at Geyser's home. They had been celebrating Geyser's birthday the previous night.

Leutner described herself as hopeful and positive before the attack, and said she'd tried to see the good in people, including Geyser. Leutner said Geyser had struggled to make friends and that in fourth grade she'd befriended Geyser herself.

"She was sitting all by herself and I didn't think anyone should have to sit by themselves," Leutner told Muir.

While they were friends, Leutner said, Geyser seemed like a happy girl, albeit "a little lonely." They would have sleepovers together, play outside and draw -- "all the things that kids do," Leutner said.

Leutner said she'd considered Geyser her best friend and thought Geyser was somebody she could trust.

"She was funny, I will give you that," Leutner said. "She had a lot of jokes to tell. … She was great at drawing and her imagination always kept things fun."

Then, "everything went downhill," she said.

Around the time Geyser became friends with Weier in sixth grade is when Geyser also started talking to Leutner about "Slender Man," she said.

"I thought it was odd. It kind of frightened me a little bit," Leutner told Muir. "But I went along with it. I was supportive because I thought that's what she liked."

Eventually, though, the fictional stories Geyser told about "Slender Man," a tall, faceless creature in a suit that could use tendrils growing from his back, became too frightening, Leutner said. She even asked her mother, Stacie Leutner, whether "Slender Man" was real and was relieved when she was told that he wasn't.

"I told [Geyser] that it scared me and that I didn't like it," Leutner said. "But she really liked it and thought it was real."

Leutner even considered ending her friendship with Geyser, she said.

"I saw the change from fifth to sixth grade when she met Anissa," she said. "That's when I was really wanting to get out of that friendship."

Ultimately, however, Leutner stayed friends with Geyser. She said she felt bad for her friend and didn't want her to be alone. Geyser even "guilted" Leutner into staying friends, Leutner said.

"Payton was such an empathetic kid," her mother, Stacie Leutner, told ABC News in a new interview. "She recognized that Morgan maybe wasn't the healthiest friendship to have. But if Payton wasn't her friend, she wouldn't have any other friends. So, she thought everyone deserved at least one friend."

As Geyser's fixation with "Slender Man" grew, it appeared to Leutner that Geyser's friendship with Weier blossomed, too. Weier lived in the same apartment complex as Geyser and rode the bus with her to school.

"I didn't like [Weier] at all," Leutner said. "I just hung out with her because I knew that Morgan really loved her as a friend. But she was always cruel to me. I feel like she was jealous that Morgan was friends with me and her."

It was Weier who had "really convinced" Geyser that "Slender Man" was real, Leutner thought. Leutner said she is now convinced that Geyser and Weier were a toxic combination.

Morgan Geyser has her 12th birthday party

Leutner said she had no idea what the two girls had planned for her in the name of "Slender Man" when she arrived to Geyser's 12th birthday party. The trio had skated together at a local roller rink and eaten frozen yogurt before the slumber party. Looking back, Leutner said she thinks she can recognize a glimpse of something feeling off that night.

"Something was strange because at all of our past sleepovers, [Geyser] always wanted to stay up all night because she could never do that at home," Leutner said of Geyser. "But on [the night of] the birthday party, she wanted to go to bed."

"Once I look back on it, I was like, that is really weird," she told Muir. "Why didn't I see something? Why didn't I notice something was weird? But I'm not blaming myself at all. Because who could ever see something like this coming? Nobody could ever see something like this coming."

Geyser and Weier later told investigators that they had planned to kill Leutner in her sleep that night, according to their police interviews, but then they changed the plan to kill her the next morning at a nearby park.

"I remember waking up," Leutner said. "They had already gone, woken up and gone downstairs on the computer. So I woke up and I went down with them. We had doughnuts [and] went to the park."

Leutner said that it was Geyser's idea in the morning to go to the park and that normally Geyser wouldn't have been allowed to go without an adult. But because she was with friends and it was her birthday party, her mother had let the three girls go on their own, Leutner said.

Once the girls got to the park, the plan to kill Leutner changed again. Weier told investigators that she suggested they go for a walk to play hide-and-seek in nearby woods

"They just wanted to go on a walk," Leutner said. "And I didn't think much of it. It's just a walk. It's in Waukesha. What bad stuff happens in Waukesha, Wisconsin?"

In the woods, as they prepared to start what Leutner thought would be a game of hide-and-seek, Weier told Leutner to lay down.

"Anissa told me to lie on the ground and cover myself in sticks and leaves and stuff to hide, in a sense," Leutner told Muir. "But it was really just a trick to get me down there."

With a kitchen knife Weier told investigators Geyser had brought from her home, Geyser repeatedly stabbed Leutner.

Leutner said she didn't remember every detail of her brutal attack and was glad for the relief in not knowing. But, she said, she does remember her trust being broken by her best friend and not believing that Geyser and Weier were going to get help for her.

After Geyser stabbed Leutner with the knife, she and Weier left Leutner alone in the woods. Injured and bleeding, Leutner did what many couldn't believe she had the strength to do: She pulled herself out of the woods and into the open where someone could find her.

"I got up, grabbed a couple trees for support, I think," she said. "And then just walked until I hit a patch of grass where I could lay down."

It was there, at the end of Big Bend Road, that a bicyclist found her and called 911. Police and EMT workers arrived. Leutner's focus, she said, faded in and out while in the ambulance.

"I couldn't focus much because my body was working so hard to keep itself alive," she said. "It was probably like, 'Vision isn't really a priority right now.'"

Payton Leutner undergoes surgery in the hospital

At the hospital, she told Muir, she remembers seeing her mother as nurses counted her wounds.

"I said, 'You're gonna be OK. It's gonna be fine,' but I could see that she was covered. Her arms and her legs and her abdomen, they were covered in stab wounds," Stacie Leutner told ABC News in 2014.

The doctors at ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital performed emergency surgery and were shocked by Leutner's critical injuries. The stab wounds she'd suffered to her arms and legs had only damaged soft tissue, but the two to her torso had hit major organs. One had cut through her diaphragm, damaging her liver and stomach. The other had nearly penetrated her heart and missed a major artery by less than a millimeter.

"If the knife had gone the width of a human hair further, she wouldn't have lived," Dr. John Kelemen, who operated on Leutner that day, told ABC News in 2014.

When she awakened after six hours of surgery, Leutner said, she first started worrying about where her attackers were.

"I remember the first thing that I thought after I woke up was like, 'Did they get them?'" she said. "'Are they there? Are they in custody? Are they still out?'"

She said she was relieved to hear that police had captured both Geyser and Weier as she struggled with the pain from the attack and surgery.

"I wrote on whiteboards to communicate because I couldn't speak much," Leutner said. "I had the intubation tube in my lungs because I couldn't breathe on my own for a while."

Her recovery was difficult, both physically and emotionally. She said she was also frightened after the attack and slept in the bed with her mother so she wouldn't be alone at night.

To this day, Leutner told Muir, she sleeps with a pair of broken scissors under the pillow next to her "just in case."

When Leutner learned why Geyser had stabbed her, she said, she wasn't surprised by the motive: The girls had intended to kill her to appease the fictional character "Slender Man" and prove that he was real.

"After I heard why she did it, I was like, 'Well, this doesn't surprise me at all because she believed so hard in this thing that she would do anything for it.'"

What did surprise Leutner, she told Muir, was that Geyser and Weier had immediately confessed to the attack and that they'd told police they had been planning it for a long time.

"It was a little shocking to me to see that they had this big, huge plan that they had been working on for months," Leutner said.

Payton Leutner regains a sense of normalcy in her life

Since the attack, Leutner said she has done her best to resume a normal life despite the notoriety of the case and the years of litigation. Trusting others, especially new friends, she said, has been particularly difficult after the attack.

"She has friends, but initially, even with those friends, she kept them at arm's length," Stacie Leutner said. "And for a long time, even trusting family members was hard for her."

Payton Leutner told Muir that she sometimes thinks about her former best friend's mother, Angie Geyser, with sympathy.

"I've thought about what she's going through and how hard it must be for her," Leutner said. "Because I'm sure a lot of people are trashing on her and hating her. And saying that it was her fault, she raised [Geyser] wrong."

"It wasn't [Angie's] fault," Leutner continued. "Morgan's schizophrenic. There is nothing that she could have done to stop that or control that. It was not her fault."

In 2016, Geyser's mother told a newspaper that her daughter had been diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia while in custody. A forensic psychologist also testified for the defense during a 2015 hearing that Geyser's father had been hospitalized several times as a teenager because of mental illness, according to that newspaper.

Stacie Leutner also said she has thought about the mother and father on the other side of the shattered friendship.

"I was angry for a long time, especially [at] Morgan's parents, knowing that Morgan's dad had schizophrenia. ... For a long time I thought that they were maybe just in denial and ignoring her symptoms," Stacie Leutner said. "But I'm not angry anymore, because I recognize that they're going through their own hell."

Geyser and Weier were charged in adult court with first-degree attempted intentional homicide after the attack.

Weier pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was found by a jury to be not guilty by mental disease or defect in 2017. Geyser pleaded guilty to the first-degree charges against her. In 2018, as a part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, Geyser was convicted but found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Weier and Geyser each were sentenced to up to 25 years and up to 40 years, respectively, in a mental health institution.

Leutner said she is aware of the longstanding public debate about whether the two girls were old enough to be charged in adult court, but doesn't herself question whether their cases should have been handled in juvenile court.

"Adult crime is adult court," Leutner said. "If they had stolen a candy bar, sure that's a child. But you tried to kill somebody. That's an adult crime."

Leutner said she doesn't ever want to see or talk to Geyser or Weier again, and said what Geyser did was "probably unforgivable." She knows Geyser is already eligible to petition the court for release from the mental institution, but said she doesn't fear her eventual release.

"If she ever like tried to come by me, she would go right back where she was," Leutner said.

Stacie Leutner acknowledged her own reservations about Geyser potentially petitioning for release soon.

"I don't know that I'm comfortable with her being released right now," Stacie Leutner said. "I know that their sentences were up to 25 and 40 years, and if that's how long it takes, then that's how long it takes."

Payton Leutner on what she would tell her former best friend who attacked her

Payton Leutner even surprised herself when responding to the question of what she would like Geyser to know, she said.

"I would probably, initially thank her," Leutner said to Muir. "I would say, 'Just because of what she did, I have the life I have now. I really, really like it and I have a plan. I didn't have a plan when I was 12, and now I do because of everything that I went through.'"

"I wouldn't think that someone who went through what I did would ever say that," Leutner said. "But that's truly how I feel. Without the whole situation, I wouldn't be who I am."

Leutner is a senior in high school and plans to attend college in fall 2020. She said she'd like to pursue a career in the medical field, which she believes is a goal inspired by what happened to her.

To the many people who supported Leutner and sent her well-wishes through the years, she said she is "very grateful for all of the love and support." She said she now wants people to know that she is doing well and that her hope for moving forward is to "put everything behind me and live my life normally."

"We've seen her go from a victim to a survivor," said Leutner family spokesman Steve Lyons of SJL Government Affairs and Communications. "Now she's a young lady with a really bright future ... [She has] great grades, great friends. She's got so much to live for and I can't wait to see what the next chapter of her life is."

As far as "Slender Man" goes, Leutner said she had advice for parents whose children might not understand the difference between what is real and fake online. "Parents need to talk to their kids directly, saying, 'This is not real. This is fake,'" she said to Muir.

She also shared some sage advice to young people regarding bad friendships that she wished she'd known at 12 years old.

"Get out before something bad happens to you," Leutner said. "Even if you're guilted into it, if you've been friends with them for years. … If you feel something is bad, you need to get out while you still can."

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/slender-man-stabbing-victim-speaks-publicly-first-time-095706169--abc-news-topstories.html

 

Liz Woolley

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