(CNN) – A Wisconsin girl whose friends attracted her to the forest after a pajama party and stabbed her 19 times, to impress a fictional horror character, is sharing her story.
Payton Leutner was stabbed by two 12-year-old classmates in a Waukesha park in 2014. The attack by Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier surprised the nation, especially after it emerged that she was attacked due to her obsession with "Slender Man" , a mythical internet character.
In an agreement with prosecutors, Geyser pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison in a mental institution, instead of serving the prison sentence. Weier pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree manslaughter for mental illness and a judge sentenced her to 25 years in a mental health center.RELATED
In an exclusive interview with “20/20” of ABC that will air this Friday, Leutner, now 17, said the attack traumatized her physically and emotionally, and that she sleeps with broken scissors. She said she finds it difficult to make new friends because she can't easily trust people.
"She has friends, but initially, even with those friends, she kept them at a distance," her mother, Stacie Leutner, told ABC. "And for a long time, even trusting family members was difficult for her."
CNN does not usually name minors accused of crimes, but makes exceptions if they are charged as adults, as were Geyser and Weier.
The night before the attack
In May 2014, all three had gone to Geyser's house for a pajama party to celebrate their birthday.
It was a normal day for them: they had previously spent a lot of time together playing outside and draw ing in pajamas, Leutner said.
During those moments, Geyser was constantly talking about Slender Man, a character that terrified Leutner, he said.
She was so terrified that Leutner asked her mother if Slender Man was real and she assured him she was not. It is said that Slender Man, a menacing and faceless specter in a dark suit, sometimes portrayed with tentacles, chases children and lurks in the darkest corners of the web. The Internet monster was created in an online forum for people who enjoy creating fake supernatural images.
“I thought it was strange. It scared me a little, ”Leutner told ABC about his friends' fascination with the character. “But I agreed. I supported them because I thought that was what they liked. ”
As the friendship between Geyser and Weier grew, the couple's fixation with Slender Man also increased, Leutner said.
The birthday party
While she didn't know that her friend planned to hurt her after they celebrated Geyser's 12th birthday at a local skating rink followed by a pajama party, in retrospect something felt bad that night, she said.
"In all our past pajamas, (Geyser) always wanted to stay up all night because at home she could never have done that," Leutner said. "But on (the night of) the birthday party, she wanted to go to bed."
Her friends then told investigators that they had planned to kill Leutner while she slept that night, but then decided to do it the next morning at a nearby park.
When he woke up, they were downstairs at the computer, so he joined them in search of donuts before heading to the park. While they were there, they told him that the plan was to play hide-and-seek and asked him to lie under the sheets and sticks as part of the game, he said.
"But it was really just a trick to take me there," he said.
That was when Geyser repeatedly stabbed her with a kitchen knife and the girls left her alone in the woods, bleeding and struggling for help.
After she crawled out of the woods, a passing cyclist found her and called 911.