Update On The 12-Year-Old Girls Involved In The 'Slender Man' Stabbing

Photo: KnowYourMeme
slender man stabbing
Heartbreak

This tragic story is heartbreaking for all involved.

The Slender Man stabbing case shocked the nation when two middle school girls attacked one of their best friends. We have an update on where the girls are now and how this tragedy unfolded. 

It was supposed to be a fun night filled with laughs and memories made. But when Payton “Bella” Leutner attended the 12th birthday party for her best friend, Morgan Geyser on May 30, 2014 along with another friend, Anissa Weier, things turned tragic.

After going to a roller skating rink in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the three girls came back to Geyser’s house for a sleepover. 


Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier the night before the attempted murder.

What Bella didn’t know was that the other two girls had been planning her death for months, wanting to act as proxies for a fictional online character named Slender Man.

Initially, the two girls had planned to kill Bella at 2 in the morning by taping her mouth shut and stabbing her, then fleeing. But Geyser decided to wait until the morning to give Bella “more time.”

During a game of hide-and-seek in the woods nearby, Geyser an Weier attacked Bella. She was stabbed 19 times, screaming “I hate you. I trusted you.” 

The girls ran toward Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin’s Northwoods area because that’s where they believed Slender Man’s mansion was; where they were to be received as guests for sacrificing Bella.

Meanwhile, Bella dragged her body out to the road where a bicyclist found her and called police. Miraculously, she survived, but was in critical condition for some time and though she’s physically better now, the trauma will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Here’s an update about Morgan Geyser, Anissa Weier, Bella (Payton Leutner) and the legend known as Slender Man:

1. Who is Slender Man?

Slender Man is an internet meme in the CreepyPasta forums. Originally created by Eric Knudsen  (also known as Victor Surge) during a contest in 2009 in the Something Awful forums asking users to photoshop everyday pictures and make them look paranormal. 

He used two black and white photos of children and added a tall, faceless man who appeared to be watching or stalking the children. Though most of the contestants just made enhancements to the photo, Knudsen decided to go a step further and add some text to make it creepier.

"We didn't want to go, we didn't want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time…"

— 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

"One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence."

— 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.
Slender Man went viral and became an internet hit, spawning cosplays, additional stories on CreepyPasta and an entire background of lore that its creator, Knudsen, had nothing to do with.

RELATED: Who Is Slender Man? The Evolution Of His Scary 'Creepypasta' Stories Explained

2. HBO documented the case and gave new insight into the lives of Geyser and Weier.

It was revealed that Matthew Geyser, Morgan's father, suffers from schizophrenia.

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is a complex, long-term medical illness, affecting about 1% of Americans ... symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking. 

Forensic Psychologist Deborah Collins, who worked with the family's defense team, said, "There is a genetic component in psychiatric disorders … If a parent has a history, there can be a higher rate of incidence among offspring."

In the beginning, Collins interviewed Morgan several times and reported that she believed in fantasy characters, so much so that she "interacted" with Harry Potter characters and a girl named Maggie.

3. Both Morgan and Anissa have been sentenced and will be spending the majority of their lives in a mental institution.

Anissa Weier, now 16 years-old, pleaded guilty to being a party to second-degree homicide and was sentenced to 25 years in a mental hospital. The jury agreed with her defense that she was not responsible for her actions based on her mental illness

During her sentencing, Anissa said, "I do hold myself accountable for this and that I will do whatever I have to do to make sure I don't get any sort of delusion or whatever again … I want everybody involved to know I deeply regret everything that happened that day. I know that nothing I say is going to make this right and nothing I say is going to fix what I broke.”

Morgan Geyser, now 15, was sentenced to 40 years in a mental hospital after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder in order to avoid jail time. 

Expert witnesses made statements in front of Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren, explaining that although Morgan has made some improvements, she would be a harm to the community if she were allowed to go home. Morgan still speaks of "Maggie" and therefore she is not symptom free, despite medication she is voluntarily, but not happily, taking.

In a tearful plea, Geyser broke down in court saying she never meant for this to happen.

4. What happened to Payton "Bella" Leutner? 

In 2015, the parents of Bella spoke with ABC News about her progress. Here is a short clip from the 20/20 episode:

Family spokesman Steve Lyons told PEOPLE in 2017, “Today, Payton is a strong young woman who is excelling in school and doing many things that a teenager would do with her family and friends.”  

Liza Walter is a writer who focuses on current events, pop culture, and true crime. She loves cheese, Game of Thrones, her husband, and son. Not necessarily in that order. You can follow her on Twitter @NerdyLiza.

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