Mother: Slender Man Stabbing Victim Feared Specter

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Mother: Slender Man Stabbing Victim Feared Specter
Circuit Judge Michael Bohren presides over the second day of a preliminary hearing in Waukesha, Wis., for two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing their classmate to please horror character Slender Man. An attorney for one of two girls to convince a judge Tuesday to move her case into juvenile court, arguing that his client is mentally disturbed and believed she had to kill to protect herself and her family from the creature. Bohren declined to rule on anything Tuesday, asking all sides to submit briefs. All three girls were 12 years old at the time of the incident. (AP Photo/Journal Sentinel, Rick Wood, POOL)
One of two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing their classmate to please horror character Slender Man appears in court during the second day of a preliminary hearing in Waukesha, Wis., An attorney for one of two girls to convince a judge Tuesday to move her case into juvenile court, arguing that his client is mentally disturbed and believed she had to kill to protect herself and her family from the creature. Bohren declined to rule on anything Tuesday, asking all sides to submit briefs. All three girls were 12 years old at the time of the incident. (AP Photo/Journal Sentinel, Rick Wood, POOL)
One of two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please the fictional character Slender Man is led into a courtroom at the Waukesha County Courthouse in Waukesha, Wis. Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Her attorney challenged a doctor's report that said she was competent to stand trial. A competency hearing was scheduled for Dec. 18, the same day as a competency hearing for the other girl accused in the case. (AP Photo/Waukesha Freeman, Charles Auer, Pool)
FILE - In this Saturday, May 31, 2014, file photo, rescue workers take a 12-year-old stabbing victim to an ambulance in Waukesha, Wis. Neighbors of two U.S. girls accused of stabbing another girl nearly to death say they're struggling to reconcile the allegations with what they know about the 12-year-olds and their upbringings. (AP Photo/Abe Van Dyke, File)
One of two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please the fictional horror character Slender Man is led into a courtroom for a hearing Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, in Waukesha, Wis. A state doctor believes the girl's mental condition has improved and that she is fit to stand trial. (AP Photo/Waukesha Freeman, Charles Auer, Pool)
Judge Michael Bohren rules one of two 12-year-old defendants mentally competent after hearing the testimony from doctors in a courtroom in Waukesha, Wis. on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 during the trial for the stabbing of a third girl in May 2014. The two girls told detectives the attack was an attempt to please Slenderman, a fictional character they found on a horror website. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Michael Sears, Pool)
Defense attorney Anthony Cotton, left, speaks with Waukesha Asst. District Attorney Ted Szczupakiewicz after a hearing at the county court in Waukesha, Wis. on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 during the trial for two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing another girl in May 2014. The two girls told detectives the attack was an attempt to please Slenderman, a fictional character they found on a horror website. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Michael Sears)
Joseph Smith, attorney for one of two 12-year-old defendants, sits in a courtroom at the county court in Waukesha, Wis. on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 during the trial for two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing another girl in May 2014. The two girls told detectives the attack was an attempt to please Slenderman, a fictional character they found on a horror website. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Michael Sears)
Dr. Anthony Jurek testifies testifies to the mental competency of one of two 12-year-old defendants in a courtroom in Waukesha, Wis. on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 during the trial for the stabbing of a third girl in May 2014. The two girls told detectives the attack was an attempt to please Slenderman, a fictional character they found on a horror website. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Michael Sears, Pool)
Waukesha, Wisc., USA. 2nd July, 2014. A judge ordered a competency hearing for one of two Wisconsin 12 year-old girls accused of stabbing their friend to please the fictional Internet character "Slenderman" after experts deemed her mentally incompetent to proceed with her defense, July 2, 2014 in Waukesha, Wisc. © Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT/Alamy Live News
Waukesha, Wisc., USA. 2nd July, 2014. A judge ordered a competency hearing for one of two Wisconsin 12 year-old girls accused of stabbing their friend to please the fictional Internet character "Slenderman" after experts deemed her mentally incompetent to proceed with her defense, July 2, 2014 in Waukesha, Wisc. © Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT/Alamy Live News
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Girl, 12, proves incompetent to stand trial. 

(Photo by Twitter / @iChicagoNews)

A photo taken on June 3, 2014, shows a Waukesha, Wis. park where two 12-year-old girls are accused of planning to kill another 12-year-old girl before deciding to go to some nearby woods, where the girl was severely injured with 19 stab wounds. Prosecutors say the two 12-year-olds stabbed their acquaintance to please a fictional creature they learned about online. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)
FILE - The site in Waukesha, Wis., where a bicyclist found a 12-year-old girl who had 19 stab wounds is seen in this Tuesday June 3, 2014, file photo. Two 12-year-old girls are accused of stabbing the girl in the woods to please a fictional character they learned about online. Neighbors of the two accused say they're struggling to reconcile the allegations with what they know about the 12-year-olds and their upbringings. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger, File)
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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Yasmin Ouard poses as Slenderman from the series Mobile Hornets ahead of the MCM London Comic Con Expo at ExCel on October 26, 2012 in London, England. Visitors to the Comic Convention are encouraged to wear a costume of their favourite comic character and flock to the Expo to gather all the latest news in the world of comics, manga, anime, film, cosplay, games and cult fiction. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - A 12-year-old Wisconsin girl who was stabbed 19 times by classmates trying to please a fictional horror character had feared the specter known as Slender Man before the attack, her mother said in an interview aired Friday night.

Payton Leutner was attacked in a wooded park in late May following a sleepover to celebrate her best friend's 12th birthday. Police say her friend and another 12-year-old classmate later told investigators they spent months planning the attack intended to win favor with Slender Man, the star of numerous spooky stories posted online.

Payton's mother, Stacie Leutner, said her daughter asked about Slender Man before the attack because stories shared by her friend frightened her. Payton insisted her best friend knew Slender Man was real. Leutner was not overly concerned.

"Fantasy when you are 12 years old is still a very active part of your life," she said.

Leutner and her husband spoke with ABC's David Muir for the season premiere of "20/20." It was their first interview since the May 31 attack in Waukesha County, west of Milwaukee. Muir went school shopping and to an animal shelter with Payton but did not ask her about the attack and she did not speak on camera.

A bicyclist found Payton after she crawled from the woods to a sidewalk. Payton's doctor told Muir she nearly died because one wound was so close to her heart. Payton later told her mother that she knew she had to get out of the woods if she wanted to live. Leutner cried as she described listening to nurses count her daughter's wounds.

"I hugged her, and I said, 'You're going to be OK, it's going to be fine.' But I could see that she was covered - her arms, and her legs and her abdomen were covered in stab wounds," Leutner recalled.

The alleged attackers have been charged as adults with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. They were found about five hours after the attack walking along a road toward a national forest, where they believed Slender Man lived in a mansion.

Payton's former best friend is receiving mental health treatment after telling a court-appointed psychologist that she can see and hear things that others cannot - including unicorns, Slender Man and Voldemort, an antagonist in the Harry Potter series. A hearing on the other girl's mental state is scheduled for next month.

Leutner said she had known of Payton's best friend for years and hadn't seen signs of serious problems. She recalled her disbelief when her daughter named her attacker.

"'There's no way,' that's what's going through my head. (The child) is 12," she said.

Leutner did not know the other girl. The Associated Press is not naming the girls who are charged because their cases could be moved to juvenile court.

"I think about the other parents all the time. I can't imagine what they are going through," Leutner said.

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