LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) — Former University of Kentucky student Holly Dunn was the only survivor of a years-long multistate killing spree carried out by a notorious serial killer 20 years ago.
Dunn has returned to the commonwealth to talk about the case and promote her newly published memoir, "Sole Survivor."
"I wanted to help anyone that's been through some kind of tragedy," Dunn told LEX 18. "I think anyone who's experienced brokenness can get inspiration from my book."
Dunn said that it was exhausting to revisit many of the memory while writing the memoir, but added that she pushed herself to complete the project with the hope of helping others.
The book not only addresses her escape from serial killer Angel Resendez, also known as the Railroad Killer, but also tracks the emotional and spiritual turmoil that came with her experience.
"It was very hard to write the story, and I think that's why, part of the reason why I waited so long," she said. "I cried a lot, I healed a lot more, I just avoided it, because I didn't want to live it again."
In August 1997 Dunn was junior at UK. She was walking home from a party with her boyfriend at the time, fellow UK student Chris Maier. Resendez, ambushed the couple as they were walking alongside the train tracks near campus. Resendez killed Maier by hitting him in the head with a rock. The killer stabbed and raped Dunn, leaving her for dead.
To this day, Dunn struggles with those memories but says her story also is one of resilience.
"That's what I hope people understand, that you can rise from the ashes," Dunn said. "You can get through hard things and survive."
At her book-signing on Tuesday night, she talked to a captivated audience, which included retired paramedic Wade Ashley. He rode in the ambulance with Holly the night she was attacked.
"All we knew at the time was that it was an injured female," said Ashley. "Once we got there, Holly was inside a house, sitting on the couch, very bloody."
Ashley says he couldn't wait to see Holly again. He watched as she signed copies of her new book, and admired how far she's come.
"The fact that she's able to fight through that, and use that experience to help other people is just amazing," said Ashley.
"That's the best part about writing this book, is seeing everyone who supported me from the past 20 years, and I'm getting to see them when I travel and that's been amazing," she said.
On Wednesday, she will be speaking on UK's campus at 7 p.m. at the Gatton Kincaid auditorium.