Payton Leutner was only 12 years old when she was stabbed repeatedly after being set upon by middle school classmates fascinated by the fictional Slender Man character. Today, Leutner is 17 years old. She’s about to embark on a college career studying in a medical field, according to her first comments in the case, given to ABC.
On October 25, 2019, Leutner spoke out for the first time ever about what happened to her on ABC’s 20/20. “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.”
She added: “I feel like it’s time for people to see my side rather than everyone else’s.”
Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were only 12 years old when the Waukesha, Wisconsin girls were accused of stabbing Leutner in the woods in a bid to prove that the fictional Slender Man character is real. Fast forward to 2019, and the girls are serving mental health commitments (of 40 and 25 years, respectively).
Morgan is appealing her case on the basis that she shouldn’t have been tried in adult court due to her young age and mental illness. You can read the criminal complaint in the case here. Read the Geyser appellate brief here. The case is listed as awaiting for decision.
Neither Geyser nor Weier is listed in the state of Wisconsin adult offenders database, which tracks where people are in prison. That’s because both today are being held in mental health institutions, not state prisons. According to Wisconsin court records, Geyser was found “Guilty but Not Guilty Due to Mental Disease/Defect.” Weier was too.
Geyser was sentenced in February 2018. Online court records in her case state that the “court orders the defendant to be committed to the Department of Health Services for 40 YEARS commencing 2/1/18…Court further finds that conditional release would pose a significant risk of bodily injury to the defendant or others. Both the State and Defense stipulate to the institutional care. Court orders placement as Institutional Care.”
Weier was sentenced in December 2017. Court records say that the state requested “the maximum amount of institutional care of 25 years and that Ms. Weier take all prescribe mediation.” The defense requested “institutional care (until) Ms. Weier(‘s) 25th birthday.” In October 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections confirmed to Heavy, “Neither Ms. Weier nor Ms. Geyser are in the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.” The state Department of Health Services wrote, “Under patient privacy laws we cannot confirm or deny whether a specific individual was at one of our facilities or offer any other information.” It was revealed in court that Geyser has schizophrenia.
Here’s what you need to know:
Leutner Described to ABC News How She Befriended Geyser Before the Attack
In the interview with 20/20, Leutner described how she befriended Geyser. “She was sitting all by herself and I didn’t think anyone should have to sit by themselves,” Leutner told Muir. She described Geyser as “a little lonely.”
The told ABC she was frightened when Leutner began talking about Slender Man, saying, “I thought it was odd. It kind of frightened me a little bit. But I went along with it. I was supportive because I thought that’s what she liked.”
She added: “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.” She felt Weier was jealous of her friendship with Geyser, saying, “…She was always cruel to me. I feel like she was jealous that Morgan was friends with me and her.”
Of the trip to the Woods, she told ABC: “They just wanted to go on a walk. And I didn’t think much of it. It’s just a walk. It’s in Waukesha. What bad stuff happens in Waukesha, Wisconsin?” She said she doesn’t remember all of the actual attack.
Of the controversy over the girls being charged in adult court, Leutner said, “Adult crime is adult court. If they had stolen a candy bar, sure that’s a child. But you tried to kill somebody. That’s an adult crime.” Today, she has trouble trusting people.
As for how she is today, Leutner told ABC of her life, “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.” That’s why she plans to go to college to study a medical field (she’s a senior in high school).
“We’ve seen her go from a victim to a survivor,” said Leutner family spokesman Steve Lyons of SJL Government Affairs and Communications to ABC News. “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.”
In a victim impact statement filed with the court, Leutner’s mother, Stacie Leutner, wrote, “The 19 stab wounds that Payton endured that day left 19 very visible scars on her arms, her legs,her hip,her torso, and her chest. The nearly 6 hour surgery and other medical treatments to repair her heart, diaphragm, liver, stomach, and pancreas left 6 more scars. Two of these scars span from just below her neck to just below her belly button. They are still red and angry more than 3years later. They tingle and ache and remind her of their presence every day. Things that should be a fun experience for a mother and daughter have become mired with reminders of her attack. Shopping for homecoming dresses leaves only a few options because far too many dresses will show off her scars. Beach vacations are harsh reminders that swimsuits aren’t made for young girls with 25 scars.”
Read the full document here.
The Complaint Describes How a Stranger Discovered Leutner Bleeding on a Sidewalk & Called Police
Despite their young ages, both Morgan E. Geyer and Anissa E. Weier were charged in 2014 in an adult criminal complaint. Morgan’s date of birth was given as May 16, 2002, and Anissa Weier’s date of birth was given as 11/10/2001.
At the time of the criminal charges, Morgan was listed as standing 5 foot 4 inches tall and weighing 115 pounds; Weier was listed as standing 5 foot 2 inches tall and weighing 139 pounds. Geyser was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, part to the crime. She also faced a penalty enhancer for using a knife.
Weier was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide with a dangerous weapon, party to a crime, as well.
This is what the criminal complaint alleged:
On May 31, 2014, a man named Greg R. Steinberg contacted the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin Police Department “to report a stabbing to a girl he located lying on the sidewalk in the area of Rivera Drive and Big Bend Road.” Steinberg told police that the girl stated, “Please help me. I’ve been stabbed.”
He called 911 and tried to apply pressure to her wounded and stayed there until the Fire Department arrived. The victim was only named in the complaint as P.L., date of birth in February 2002. However, she was later identified voluntarily as Payton Leutner.
When the police officer responded, Payton was only wearing a white t-shirt under a black fleece jacket which was covered in blood. He asked if she was okay and she said no. When asked who did this to her, she stated her best friend, Morgan Geyser. Payton told police that the stabbings took place in the woods just to the east of Big Bend Road. She said she was in a lot of pain and the officer “observed multiple wounds on her body including on her legs as well as blood spots from her abdomen area.”
Payton Came a Millimeter From Dying as the Complaint Describes her 19 Stab Wounds
The complaint further alleged that Payton almost died from the stab wounds. It alleged:
The officer spoke to Payton again at Waukesha Memorial Hospital. She indicated “she did not want to go into the woods but was pushed inside. She was in extreme pain and could only answer yes or no questions, but at this time, the officer indicated Payton was given a CAT scan. A physician indicated there was fluid around her heart that required a thorax surgical team’s expertise. Payton had a total of nineteen stab wounds.
She was taken to surgery. Medical professionals told the officer that Payton was “one millimeter away from certain death.” That’s because one of the stab wounds to Payton’s chest missing a major artery near her heart by one millimeter. If that artery had been struck, Payton would have died within minutes.
Her heart was struck by the knife and medical personnel stated that Payton “was very lucky to be alive.” The officer noted that a different surgical team performed surgery on Payton’s abdomen. During that surgery, injuries were located to Payton’s liver, pancreas and stomach, all of which had been stabbed. At this time, the detective spoke to Weier.
The complaint alleges:
Weier told police about a website called Creepypasta.wiki. This was an internet site that talked about horror stories and nightmare stories. “People can create and write their own stories and in these stories Weier learned about a man named Slenderman. Weier indicated that Slenderman is the leader of the Creepypasta. Slenderman is at the top of the triangle. Just below Slenderman is the killer and below the killer is the proxy. Weier stated in order to be a proxy you needed to kill a person. This would show your dedication to Slenderman.”
Weier told police that “many people do not believe Slenderman is real and she stated she wanted to prove the skeptics wrong.” She indicated she had been reading the website since October of the year before and that Morgan Geyser introduced her to it. Geyser told Weier, “We should be proxies of Slender.” Weier stated okay, how do we do that?
The complaint alleges that Geyser stated to Weier, “We have to kill P.L. (Payton) to prove ourselves worthy to the Slender.” Weier was surprised but also excited to prove that he existed and to prove the skeptics were wrong. Thus, she stated “she felt she had to physically kill someone.”
Geyser told Weier that Geyser could have two friends over every year for her birthday and Geyer told Weier that they would kill Payton on the dad planned to be her birthday May 30, 2014. Weier explained more about “Slender” and “indicated they learned he lives in a mansion in the Nicolet National Park which they discovered was in Wisconsin. The plan was to kill (Payton) and walk to Slender’s mansion and become one of his proxies.”
The Girls Discarded Other Stabbing Plans But Payton Was Viciously Attacked in the Woods, the Complaint Says
The complaint provides these further details:
On May 30, 2014, after school, Weier told police, according to the complaint, that she and Geyser went to Weier’s house where she packed a backpack full of clothes, granola bars, water bottles and a picture of her mother and her father and her siblings. She didn’t want to forget what her family looked like when they walked to the mansion.
Geyser’s father picked up Payton, and the three girls went to Skateland. They returned at 9:30 p.m. Weier stated that they went to sleep in Geyser’s room and indicated there was a plan in place to kill Payton while she was sleeping around 2 a.m. The plan was to put duct tape over her mouth, stab her in the neck, put the covers over her to make it look like she was sleeping and run. This plan changed when they decided to go to Skateland that Friday night.
On the morning of May 31, 2014, the plan changed to kill Payton in the park bathroom as Weier noted the floor had a drain for the blood to go down. Weier indicated that when Geyser’s mom said they could go and play in the park, Geyser grabbed a knife from the house. Payton was walking in front of them and Geyser lifted up the left side of her white jacket and displayed the knife tucked in her waistband.
Weier stated she gave Geyser a look with wide eyes and Weier stated, “I thought, dear god, this was really happening.”
They eventually ended up in the bathroom “where Weier was going to do the stabbing because Weier knew all the weak spots.” “Once in the bathroom, Geyser handed Weier the knife and Weier explained that Geyser grabbed a hold of Payton’s arms in a stall almost restraining her. Weier stated she needed to talk to Geyser and told Geyser she couldn’t do it.
Weier gave the knife back to Geyser at which time Weiser indicated Geyser attempted to restrain Payton but Geyser had a nervous breakdown and Weier had to calm Geyser down. A short time later Weier suggested they go for a walk and they began to walk outside in the park.” The complaint further states:
It was then that Weier pointed out the woods to Geyser and suggested they kill Payton in the woods. Weier indicated they said they were going to play hide and seek so they could distract Payton and kill her. Geyser was the first seeker and Payton and Weier began to hide. Weier told Payton where to hide and Payton began to kneel down. Weier told Payton to lay face down in the dirt and Payton refused and did not want to do that. Weier pushed and sat on Payton, who complained she could not breath and began to yell.
Weier thought if she sat on Payton restraining Payton, Geyser could stab Payton. Because of Payton’s yelling “this was attracting attention and Weier got off of her. Weier went to Geyser and told Geyser that Payton was not laying down. Geyser then gave Weier the knife and Weier told Geyser that Weier was too squeamish and gave the knife back to Geyser.”
Weier stated once Geyser got the knife back Geyser told Weier, I’m not going to until you tell me to.”
Weiser stated she started walking away from Geyser and told Geyser “go ballistic, go crazy.” Geyser said she would go ballistic and Weier said now. Geyser responded, “Don’t worry, I’m just a little kitty cat.”
Geyser then went to Payton and tackled her and then started stabbing her. Payton was screaming. Geyser was counting in her head and believed she stabbed Payton 17 times. Weier indicated that Payton screamed, “I hate you. I trusted you.”
She got up and stumbled toward the street. Weier did not want others to see Payton so Weier grabbed a hold of Payton’s arm and started directing Payton away from the street. Payton then fell down and said she couldn’t breath, see or walk.
She told Payton to lay down and be quiet indicating she would loose blood slower.
“Weier stated she told Payton this so Payton would again not draw attention to herself and would die. Weiser told Payton they were going to get her help but Weier indicated they never planned on getting help for Payton. It was the hope that Payton would die and they would see Slender and know that he exists. They backed away and walked to Walmart, leaving her there.
Weier talked about the planning stages and said every now and then she and Geyser would whisper about the plan to kill Payton when they were on the bus. She stated they talked about living in the woods and what they would need to do to defeat animals.
They whispered as they talked because they didn’t want people to hear them because they would go to prison if they ever found out. They used code words and stated cracker meant knife or it meant killing and camping trip meant the Nicolet National Park.
Asked if she knew what it meant to kill someone Weier stated, “I believe it’s ending a life and I regret it. The bad part of me wanted her to die, the good part of me wanted her to live.”
Geyser Told Police Both Girls Stabbed Payton, Court Documents Show
Geyser stated that there was a plan to try and kill Payton. She was going to try and do it when Payton was sleeping so they didn’t have to look into her eyes. She said that Weier was very prepared to go with it but Geyser found many flaws in that plan.
When Geyser was asked if there was another way, she stated, “same way except probably duct tape her mouth shut.” When asked why they didn’t do it that way, she stated, I wanted to give Bella one more day. I wanted to see if I could put it off but it didn’t work out.”
She stated Weier had several plans, including stabbing Payton in the park bathroom, and it was hard to keep track of all of them. She said that Weier tried to knock Payton out. After they went to the bathroom, they were by some trees at the dead end and then “stabby, stab, stab.”
Geyser said they told Payton they were going to go bird watching and they played hide and seek. Geyser counted first and Weier and Payton hid. Geyser found them both. They played a second game of hide and seek and then Weier did the jumping thing. Geyser had the knife most of the time and indicated when they left her mother’s house, she had the knife in the pocket. She stated she took the knife out of the bag and Payton got stabbed. At one point when asked who stabbed Payton, Gesyer stated, “both of us.”
Geyser said they told Payton “people that trust you are very gullible.” While playing hide and seek, Weier jumped Payton and stated, “kitty, now.”
Geyser said Weier calls Geyser kitty because Geyser has cats. Geyser stated, “then we stabbed her. I think it was Weier first. Weier sorted of put the knife in my hand and then I continued to stab her.” She said she wasn’t sure how many times she stabbed Payton and indicated she heard screaming.
They saw a police officer had come to the scene and were hiding in the woods. At one point, Geyser stated she was sorry. She said she put the knife back into her bag and wiped it off on her jacket and told the detective, “it was weird that I didn’t feel remorse.”
Asked why they did this, Geyser stated that Weier said they had to or he would kill our family. When asked who he was Geyser stated she did not know him. She stated the stabbing “seemed necessary.”
“I may as well just say it. Kill her,” Geyser said when asked what she was trying to do.
As for Slenderman, Geyser said she had never met him but he watches her and he can read your mind and can teleport. He has tendrolls on him and they are sharp. She sees him in her dreams when no one else does and you start to get Slender sickness because of Slender radiation.
He is not on the computer because he doesn’t like technology. When asked if she knew what she did was wrong she said “probably wrong.” She asked if it was illegal to stab someone in self defense. Sometimes, the detective stated. He asked Geyser if this is what happened and Geyser said no.
When arrested, police found a large kitchen knife in one of Geyser’s mother’s old purses sitting between the girls. Geyser said she put the knife back into after wiping it off on her jacket. Weier’s father William Weier did indicate he was missing a two and a half inch knife from his residence. The above details of the girls’ comments and the case narrative come from the State of Wisconsin criminal complaint’s accusations.