THE LONE SURVIVOR OF A SERIAL KILLER ON A MULTI-STATE KILLING SPREE...HER STORY, IN HER WORDS ON 48 HOURS: LIVE TO TELL "THE RAILROAD KILLER," ON SATURDAY, DEC. 11, 2010
On Saturday, Dec. 11 (10 -11 PM, ET/PT) 48 HOURS' limited-run series, LIVE TO TELL continues with "The Railroad Killer," the firsthand account of a young woman who came face-to-face with an infamous serial killer.
For 20-year-old Holly Dunn, Labor Day weekend 1997, marked the start of her junior year at the University of Kentucky - a semester that was full of possibilities. She belonged to a popular sorority and had recently started dating a young man named Chris Maier. On a late August night, the couple had left a party to take a midnight stroll under the stars to watch the passing trains, but as they were returning from their walk near the railroad tracks, a dark figure holding a sharp object suddenly emerged.
What they thought was going to be a robbery, they soon realized, was going to be far worse. The man bound Dunn and Maier and gagged them. Then he did the unthinkable - he picked up a rock and smashed it into Maier's skull and then raped Dunn. It was in that moment that the young woman decided that if she survived the attack, she would not stop until this man was brought to justice.
Driven by her determination to get her attacker, Dunn kept her wits about her as he began raping her - digging her fingernails into the ground and trying to tear them off in order to leave clues for the police and memorizing any distinguishing marks on his body so that she could identify him. But the nightmare was not over. He then grabbed an object and smashed her in the face, beat her savagely in the head and left her for dead.
Dunn had begun that night on the cusp of a bright future. She woke up beaten and bloodied and - as she would later find out - the sole survivor of a multi-state killing spree by Angel Maturino Resendiz, nicknamed "The Railroad Killer." Now the race was on to find him before he killed again.
Over the next two years, Resendiz would be linked to nine murders, landing him on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list in a story that would capture headlines. The reign of terror would finally end in 1999, when Resendiz surrendered, but for Dunn the nightmare continued. Plagued by "survivor's guilt" she remained hidden from the media and the world for two years. In 2000, she faced her fears when she was called upon to be the prosecution's star witness at Resendiz's trial.
Dunn never stayed at the courthouse to hear the jury's guilty verdict. She also did not attend Resendiz's 2006 execution. He had taken her health and her innocence but not her fortitude to live. It is an inner strength that she has taken full advantage of in order to help others. In 2008, she opened a sexual assault crisis center in her hometown of Evansville, Ind. With every victim she helps, Holly says she gets back a little more of herself.
The series was created by Judy Tygard, and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer. This program was produced by Lourdes Aguiar and Michael McHugh with editing by George Baluzy and Gary Winter.