Lyons speaks with WKOW television with Slenderman Case victim update
MADISON (WKOW) — The Waukesha girl who stabbed 19 times and left for dead by her friends is speaking out for the first time about her experience.
Payton Leutner was 12 when her friends lured into the woods and nearly killed her in an effort to please a fictional character known as Slender Man.
Steve Lyons, a Madison-based crisis communicator, worked with the family after the attack serving as their spokesperson.
As the world heard Leutner’s story, he said he got to know a very different girl over the past five years.
“Five years ago we had a 12 year old girl who was a victim,” He said. “She’s bright. She’s energetic and she’s excited and sometimes loud.”
Now, after years speaking for her, Lyons said it’s his turn to listen.
“A few months ago, she just decided it was time,” he said. “It was time to tell her story in her way.”
Payton Leutner will speak publicly for the first time in an interview airing only on ABC News 20/20.
Lyons said her interview with David Muir will cover everything she’s gone through since the attack and it will shine a light on the future she plans to make for herself.
“Now she wants to tell the world she’s not only okay, but she’s doing great,” he said.
Leutner’s decision came more than a year after both of her attackers, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were sentenced to 40 years each in a Wisconsin mental health institutions. Both were 12 at the time of the attack, but Lyons said this isn’t their story anymore.
“They don’t have the future that Payton does but in this case, there is truly only one victim and that victim was held down and stabbed 19 times,” he said.
Lyons calls it a story of good triumphing over evil. He said he’s inspired everyday by Payton’s fight to build a normal life against all odds.
“From the very beginning the world rallied around this little girl and said I hope you’re gonna be okay and now she gets to come back and say I am,” he said.
Lyons said Leutner is set to graduate in May and has already been accepted to the college of her choice. He said she plans to study medicine because she felt doctors played an amazing role in her recovery.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin girl who was lured into the woods by two friends and stabbed 19 times in an effort to please a fictional horror character called Slender Man said she’s come to terms with aspects of the attack but still sleeps with broken scissors “just in case.”
Payton Leutner told ABC News 20/20 in her first interview about the 2014 attack that despite her lingering trauma, she has “come to accept all of the scars that I have.”
The program airs at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, on WKOW TV in Madison.
Leutner was 12 when two of her 12-year-old friends, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, lured her from a sleepover to a nearby park in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha and attacked her.
Geyser and Weier were charged as adults and eventually pleaded guilty. Each was ordered to spend decades in a psychiatric facility.