Marked for death, survivor of savage attack continues to ask "why?"
Saint Luke's Hospital | Kansas City, Missouri
DR. HARRY WILKINS III | TRAUMA SURGEON: When I walked in ... they had just wheeled her in. I could not tell if it was a man or a woman, couldn't tell if she was young or old, couldn't tell what race she was.
It just appeared to be a lifeless form with dried blood and this swollen head. ... My first thing was to assess to see, "Had they brought me a live person or not?"
What we found was the major veins, skin, muscle of the left neck had been completely cut through. And the major artery actually had a couple of scrapes on it. So it's literally millimeters away from having been cut through.
For the next hour-and-a-half we just meticulously cleaned and put back together all of those injuries.
I remained still very concerned about her head. ... In addition to the cut ... she had all these bruises and swelling to her face. ... And head injury to me is something I take very seriously. ... Concussions, which is essentially what she had ... can lead to swelling. And they can look fine initially and then die 24 sometimes 72 hours later.
Some of the nurses were starting to get very quiet and tears sort of welling up. And then in the back of my mind, I'm going, "wait a minute. This happened in my neighborhood. Let me get a call into my wife. Let me find out where my kids are."
It starts slowly hitting you in waves, the enormity of what really had happened.
MACKENZIE HILL |MARTI'S DAUGHTER: My grandma picked me up and we went to the hospital. And they took me straight back to the ICU.
I had no idea how serious it was because I wasn't getting a lot of information. I didn't even know what happened.
I saw my mom ... And I just started bawling. I didn't recognize her. Her eyes were swollen shut. ... Her arms, her legs, her hands were the only think that I could recognize.
SHIRLEY ROTH | MARTI'S MOTHER: I don't know how to describe it, other than you just have knots in your stomach and you are in disbelief.
Marti's head was swollen like three times the size of her normal head. It was just unbelievable. You're kinda in shock that this is your daughter laying there.
MACKENZIE HILL: My brother -- I just know my brother was very angry because it's his -- our mom. But no one can do that to HIS mom. Like that just got him really worked up. The both of us. The fact that somebody could just hurt our mom. Like, you can't just try and take our mom away from us.
As a teenager, of course, I had been sassy with my mom. And we got into arguments. Seeing her in that state just made me feel so bad for everything that I had said. Ever. Any little teenager thing. ... I just wish I could take it all back. ... I got really close to her and I said, "I will never be mean to you. Ever again."
DETECTIVE LUKE ROTH | PRAIRIE VILLAGE POLICE DEPT.: When we got to the hospital ... some key things I noticed ... was that her clothes appeared to be intact. Her bra appeared to be intact and there were no signs of sexual assault. ... Every step of the process you're looking for some sort of motive.
At that time, I was advised her mother had arrived at the hospital and I went to speak with her to obtain any information we could to assist us with this investigation.
SHIRLEY ROTH: That was why they were asking me if I could think of anyone who might have done this to Marti.
DET. LUKE ROTH: Marti's mother tells us that she has an ex- husband, by the name of Steve Hill. She advised us that Marti and Steve ... they communicate regularly.
Her mother also told us [Marti] was a workaholic. She very rarely left the house. To her knowledge she wasn't dating anybody. And if she was not working, she was typically at home.
Marti was still unable to communicate with us. We had very limited information as to who she might have been with, who she may have had recent communication with. And naturally your first thought is possibly the ex-husband might be responsible.
MACKENZIE HILL: The detectives ... asked me about my parents. They kept asking like, "Do your parents get along?" I remember being really defensive. ... Like my dad would never do this. And no one that I know would.
DETECTIVE JASON WAKEFIELD | PRAIRIE VILLAGE POLICE DEPT.: We go to Marti's ex husband's house, Steve Hill, to interview him that night.
He was very cooperative ... invited us into the house. He gave us the full account of what he had done that day and told us about his history with Marti and that they had some rough times together. But he loved her and he would never hurt her. ... He wanted to know who did this just as bad as we did.
DET. LUKE ROTH.: And that's where it became very difficult for us. ... We were stuck with the information of Mr. Hill was not a suspect and very limited after that.
MACKENZIE HILL: Me and my dad had a lot of conversations trying to get to the bottom and think of who would have done it. ... Someone had broken into my grandma's house a few days before. ... maybe it was the same person and maybe someone was after our family.
SHIRLEY ROTH: They had bandages over her cuts in her neck so we really couldn't see them. But we could see the blood coming from her eyes. It was just kinda tears with blood dripping down her eyes.
At that point, we still weren't sure what was gonna happen. ... We knew she was fighting to stay alive.
MACKENZIE HILL: I just remember ... I started crying. "All I want to do is talk to my mom." Like the only think I wanted to do was talk to my mom.
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