It’s been five years since 12-year-olds Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier stabbed their best friend, Payton Leutner, 19 times to please fictional boogeyman Slenderman. Now, the victim will be coming forward to share her side of the story for the first time during an eye-opening two hour interview on October 25.
The now 17-year-old told ABC’s David Muir that she has dealt with both the mental and physical scars of the horrifying incident. “I’ve come to accept all of the scars that I have,” she explained in the upcoming interview. “It’s just a part of me. I don’t think much of them. They will probably go away and fade eventually.”
Back in 2014, Payton’s parents appeared in an interview with 20/20, where Payton was present. But she decided specifically not to speak about the incident at that time. As far as why she decided now was the right time to speak out, she said, “I feel like it’s time for people to see my side rather than everyone else’s.”
Believe it or not, the fateful friendship that snowballed into this tragedy started with Payton noticing Morgan’s lack of connections when they were in fourth grade. “She was sitting all by herself and I didn’t think anyone should have to sit by themselves,” Payton said in the interview.
From there, the friendship went down a dark path when Morgan brought Anissa into their group — and started talking about the mysterious Slenderman. “I thought it was odd. It kind of frightened me a little bit,” Payton explained. “But I went along with it. I was supportive because I thought that’s what she liked.”
“Payton was such an empathetic kid,” her mother, Stacie Leutner, told the outlet in this 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.”
But she didn’t have a soft spot for Anissa, despite her original connection to Morgan. “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.”
Not long after, the trio had a sleepover party to celebrate Morgan’s 12th birthday, where they skated together at a local roller rink and had frozen yogurt. But in hindsight, Payton could see there were signs that pointed to something about the party being off.
“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,” Payton said about Morgan. “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 recalled. “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.”
See how the story unfolds on 20/20 on October 25 at 9 p.m. ET
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