Live to Tell: Krystal's Courage

48 Hours: A 10-Year-Old Girl's Story of Survival and How she Brought a Serial Killer to Justice

Produced by Chris Young

What if someone wants you dead but you live to tell?

It has been 10 years since the night 10-year-old Krystal Surles' throat was slashed after witnessing her friend's murder. In her unflinching account, Krystal recalls the events of that awful night, her incredible journey to recovery and a secret she kept from the public for years. It was her will to survive that ultimately brought a serial killer to justice.

This is her experience. In her words.

Marque Surles, Krystal's sister: December 1999, I was in first grade. My older sister, Krystal, and I were staying with friends in Del Rio, Texas, waiting for my family in Kansas to move there with us.

I was 7. And my older sister, Krystal, was 10. And we were just moving down to Del Rio, Texas, to start a new life with our family. I remember my sister as being kind of bossy and... the age difference was big. And we just didn't get along very well. We stayed at the Harris family's house. And they had a big family. The oldest son, Sean. Then, Justin, Laurie and Katy.

They lived kind of out in the desert. Like, there wasn't a lot of people close to them. It was off in the middle of nowhere.

I was sleeping directly across the hallway from the room Krystal and Katy were sleeping in. I was gonna sleep on the floor next to the bed, but they didn't want me in there, and I was made to leave.

When I couldn't sleep in the room, I was so mad. And I remember I just laid in bed for, like, two hours just fuming. I was just so mad. I wanted to be in that room.

I woke up to the sun coming through the window. And I sat up and I saw a lady standing in my room that I didn't know. And she just handed me a pair of shorts and a purple tank top and said, "Put this on. We got to go."

Directly, maybe five steps away from my door, was just a stream of blood. It looked like somebody was stumbling, was holding onto things. There was blood on the wall, and just - it was everywhere. And then, there was more outside. I just remember seeing it all the way down the front steps and just off into the street.

I knew somebody was hurt. I saw the blood. I could see everybody crying. Everybody was frantic. I just wanted to know what was going on.

Pam Surles, Marque and Krystal's mother: On Dec. 31, 1999, I had a phone call at close to 6:00 in the morning... as I was preparing to move from Kansas to Texas.

It was Val Verde emergency room asking me for my permission to Life Flight Krystal. She had been attacked. And I said, "Absolutely. Life Flight her. Where?" And they said, "San Antonio." I didn't know anything except that Krystal had had her throat cut.

If I looked her in her eyes, I would know if she was gonna make it.