Family of "Slender Man" stabbing victim breaks their silence - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Family of "Slender Man" stabbing victim breaks their silence

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WAUKESHA (WKOW) -- The "Slender Man" stabbing shocked the world.

Now, for the first time, we're hearing from the family and the 12-year-old victim.

ABC News' David Muir speaks exclusively to the girl and her family about their harrowing journey, in a 20/20 special airing Friday on WKOW.

David spoke only to 27 News about the girl's first words to the public and her fight to survive after police say she was stabbed 19 times by her friends and left to die.

"I asked her parents, 'How on earth did she have the strength to crawl out of the woods?' And her mom and dad told me that the first thing she said to them when they asked her that was, 'I wanted to live."

David's 20/20 special will take us back to that day in May, when the girl's courage, and a lone bicyclist, saved her life.

"You'll hear the 911 call," he says. "You'll hear him on the phone with the operators. They were stunned by what they heard. You can also hear something else, which I found incredibly moving, was that he kept reaching out to the little girl to make sure she was ok."

The doctor who operated on the girl talks about the 19 life-threatening stab wounds.

"He describes to me the wound to her heart," says David. "And he says it was literally a hair, a hair between life and death."

A traumatic journey described for a 12-year-old girl and her family.  

"There's a very powerful moment when her father told me he thought he'd lost his little girl."

The motive in this horrific crime opened up a world-wide dialogue about internet safety.

The two girls charged in the stabbing say they wanted to please an online fictional character called "Slender Man."

"You heard about it right there in your community and we heard about it across the country and the world, that they heard from parents everywhere who said 'This could've been my child.' Because this family, they did everything they thought they were supposed to do. "

As support has poured in from across the globe, that remarkably strong girl is now on the road to recovery.

"We are all pulling for her here, the entire team that worked on this project," says David. "And I think that we wouldn't have done it if we didn't think that there was a sort of greater purpose here in sharing her story."

It's a story David Muir hopes will help families begin the conversation in their own homes about keeping kids safe in this online age.

"Out of the Woods", a 20/20 special report, airs Friday at PM on WKOW.

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