The victim of the 2014 Slenderman stabbing is thriving in 2022, despite the 19 stabbings she endured.

Payton Leutner was a sixth grader in Waukesha, Wisconsin, when she was attacked by her friends Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier.

The trio were all 12 at the time of the attempted murder which they did to appease an internet urban legend known as the Slender Man.

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In June 2009, the comedy website Something Awful issued a call for people to submit a modern scary story.

While thousands of submissions rolled in, the story of a faceless ghoul who wears a black suit and is known for traumatising and abducting children called Slender Man became popular online.

Even though it started out as a harmless internet legend, Morgan and Anissa believed they had to murder Payton so they could become Slender Man’s “proxies”.

On May 30, 2014, the three 12-year-olds had a sleepover to celebrate Morgan’s birthday.

Using a game of hide-and-seek to lure Payton into a nearby forest, she was pinned down by her attackers and stabbed repeatedly with a 13cm kitchen knife.

Two of her wounds hit major arteries – and another was just inches from her heart.

She managed to drag herself to a nearby road after her attackers fled, eventually being discovered by a cyclist who called 911 before she was rushed to hospital. Thankfully, she survived.

Payton had suffered from soft tissue damage in her arms and legs, and while the two wounds on her abdomen hit major organs, they weren’t fatal.

One of them had missed a major artery by “the width of a human hair,” while the other damaged her liver and stomach. She had to undergo six hours of surgery but was able to communicate the name of her attackers to the police beforehand.

Morgan and Anissa were arrested shortly after – one of them still carrying the knife in a backpack.

During the first few years after the attack, Payton rebuilt her life, but it was difficult for her to trust people again. She claims she even slept with a pair of scissors under her pillow even after so many years had passed.

After years of healing, Payton decided to tell her own story to ABC News in 2019.

She said she was grateful for the traumatic experience as it inspired her to pursue a career in medicine, saying: “Without the whole situation, I wouldn’t be who I am.”

She added: “I would say, ‘Just because of what [Morgan] 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. But that’s truly how I feel. Without the whole situation, I wouldn’t be who I am.”

According to ABC News, as of 2022, Payton is in college and “doing very well”.

Up until her public interview, most of the media’s focus had been on Morgan and Anissa, who were both charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

In 2017, Morgan pleaded guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree homicide, but she was found not guilty “by mental disease” and was diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia.

She was sentenced to 40 years in Winnebago Mental Health Institute. As per official court records, she is presently incarcerated there and will be for the foreseeable future.

Anissa accepted a plea bargain under which she would not go to trial and was sentenced to 25 years in a state mental institution and was to remain there for at least three years.

She was released from Winnebago Mental Health Institute in 2021 but has to remain under state supervision till 2039 while living with her father.

Anissa's early release disappointed Payton's family, but they are glad that she must submit to GPS monitoring, receive psychiatric treatment and avoid any contact with Payton until at least 2039.

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