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Marti Hill worked at a small apparel company with a tight group of friends, so when she didn't show up for work one day in September 2010, co-workers grew concerned. She wasn't responding to texts, nor did she answer calls. Some friends were in tears. CLICK HERE FOR A PREVIEW!
"That's why I knew something was wrong, because she would not just miss work," Hill's friend Stephanie Scheibler tells 48 HOURS: "LIVE TO TELL - The Stranger You Know" to be broadcast Saturday, Feb. 2 at a special time of 8:00 PM, ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.
Fearing something was terribly wrong, Hill's boss drove to her home, where he found her car still in the driveway and no answer at the door. He called police.
Prairie Village Police Department officer Bill Baldwin entered Hill's home and found her body at the bottom of the basement steps. She was "kind of in a fetal position, covered head to toe in blood, and there was a large amount of blood surrounding this person on the floor," he says. She was barely breathing. Baldwin knelt down next to Hill's battered body and tried to coax out of her who was behind the vicious attack. "I wanted to get, I guess, what could have been a dying declaration, if that was what that was going to be," he says on LIVE TO TELL.
Doctors weren't sure whether she would live, either. She was beaten and her throat slashed wide open. Emergency department doctors couldn't tell if she was a man or a woman, young or old. "It starts slowly hitting you in waves, the enormity of what really had happened," says trauma surgeon Dr. Harry Wilkins III.
Hill's nightmare began when she answered an early-morning knock at the door of her Prairie Village, Kan. home. Outside stood a man who had done some work for Hill, though he wasn't expected. "I couldn't really understand for sure why he would be there," Hill says. "It was odd that he was there that early."
Hill learned why within moments when the man had his hands around his neck in an attempt to squeeze the life out of her. "My voice kept getting lower, softer and suddenly my voice... I couldn't speak... my voice couldn't come out. And I passed out."
Family, friends and police investigators describe for LIVE TO TELL the morning of the attack and the surprising trail that led to Hill's attacker, a handyman who she - and her mother - let work on their homes. She knew him, but had no idea he had more than 60 previous contacts with police, some for domestic violence. Even now, years later, the man won't say why he chose Hill.
Hill also relives that horrific morning and her inspiring recovery in a new edition of 48 HOURS: LIVE TO TELL - "The Stranger You Know." "It's still too hard to understand someone you felt like you knew was capable of something like that," she says, adding the incident has given her a new outlook on life. "When I have a bad day, I focus on the fact that... I don't really have time to have a bad day. I have things I want to achieve. There's no time for that."
LIVE TO TELL is a short-run series from the producers of 48 Hours delivering first-hand accounts of extraordinary people who refuse to give up when facing death. This broadcast is produced Chris Young Ritzen and Stephen A. McCain. The producer editors are Gary Winter, Joan Adelman and Diana Modica. Judy Tygard is the series creator. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.