Stories of Survival
While awaiting her baby's arrival, Sarah received an unexpected phone call from a woman who said her name was "Sarah Brody." The woman said one of Sarah's baby gifts had been delivered to her by accident and that there must have been a mix-up with their baby registries. The woman told Sarah she was also nine months pregnant.
Sarah drove to the woman's house to pick up her gift. Inside the box she found baby bottles, a stuffed animal and other items that were on her registry...but there was no indication of who sent the package. The woman said her husband had misplaced the air bill that came with the package.
Later that same day, Sarah received a second call from the woman saying that UPS had delivered another one of Sarah's gifts. This time, the two women chatted on the phone for an hour. "I just suspected that she was a very lonely pregnant woman," Sarah says. "I felt very sorry for her." That night, Sarah told her fiancé that she may have made a new friend.
The next morning, Sarah drove back to the woman's house to retrieve her package. Once again, the woman said the air bill was missing and insisted that Sarah stay and help her look for it. When the two women walked into the bedroom, Sarah noticed an asthma inhaler on the nightstand. "Why I looked at it, why I saw it, I'll never know," Sarah says. "But it said 'Katie Smith.' And that's when I knew at that point something was definitely wrong."
Sarah says Katie gave her a look that confirmed what her inner voice was trying to tell her. "She looked up at me with this just dead look on her face," Sarah says. "To this day, it makes me sick even thinking about it...the evil that poured out of her."
As Sarah walked to the door to leave, Katie asked if she could give her new "friend" a hug. Before Sarah could say no, Katie embraced her and began squeezing tighter and tighter. Then, Sarah says Katie reached into her pocket and pulled out a knife. "She said, 'You're not going anywhere.'"
Sarah says she managed to knock the knife out of Katie's hand. The two women fought intensely for about 20 minutes, she says. "I was thinking that me and my child were going to die here in this apartment and no one was going to know it," Sarah says.
After continued struggle, Sarah got hold of the knife and stabbed Katie in what she thought was her shoulder. "You could see the blood seeping from the top of her sweatshirt," Sarah says. "She even looked at me and said, 'You stabbed me, you stupid b***h.' At that point, I took the knife out of my hand, and I fled the apartment."
The police also discovered a nursery stocked with diapers, formula, toys and a crib. Inside a diaper bag, they found some of the most disturbing evidence. Katie had stocked the bag with surgical gloves, cutting instruments, medical gauze and a homemade umbilical clamp.
Despite all the evidence, the case took a surprising twist...Sarah became the focus of the investigation. Some members of Katie's family alleged that Sarah had been planning to sell her baby to Katie for $5,000, but then changed her mind and decided to kill her instead. Sarah was questioned by police and forced to take a six-and-a-half-hour lie detector test.
During the investigation, police found that Sarah was not at fault. "There's no doubt in my mind that Katie Smith had, in fact, lured Sarah Brady to her home for the sole purpose of taking by cesarean section Sarah Brady's baby," Detective Scott Nottingham says.
In fact, Detective Nottingham now says Sarah wasn't the only expectant mother Katie had targeted. He says Katie, who had faked three other pregnancies in the past, found women's personal information on online baby registries.
Sarah has also made changes in her own life. She says she's learned to trust her instincts and inner self. "When you know something's not right, get out," she says. "Don't linger."
To this day, Sarah says she has mixed emotions about Katie. "Some days I'm angry, and other days, I feel sorry for her," she says. "I feel sorry that she led such a horrible life to feel that she needed this child to love her or for whatever reason that she'd be so desperate to take the life of someone else."
Thanks to her maternal instincts, Sarah gave birth to a healthy baby girl, McKaila Grace, on February 16, 2005. She has also written a book about her frightening ordeal, Saving Grace.
When Gabrielle was 19 years old, she worked in a shoe store. One day, around closing time, a man walked into the store. Within seconds, Gabrielle says she knew something was wrong...but she stayed silent. "As women, we're raised to be polite and you don't want anybody to feel bad...but my body, my instinct, everything in my being was saying, 'Run. Just run out of the store,'" she says.
Moments later, the man had her co-worker at gunpoint. He instructed the two young women to follow him into the back room.
"Immediately I thought of the show...what to do in case you're the victim of a violent crime," she says. "I just did everything the [crime expert on the show] said. You know, be calm. Follow their directions. Do everything that you're being told to do until you see an opening."
She also remembered that the crime expert said to never let the attacker take you to a second location. Once inside the back room, Gabrielle says the man told her co-worker to go inside the bathroom and made Gabrielle stay with him. That's when she knew she'd either be murdered or raped. "I hate to say luckily, but luckily I wasn't killed," she says.
The man brutally raped Gabrielle and then calmly asked her to pass him his gun. Gabrielle says she knew this was her chance. "I had never handled a gun before in my life. But I guess from watching movies, I knew instinctively how to handle the gun," she says. "I fell on my back, popped the clip in and I tried to take him out."
Gabrielle missed and the man left the store. Eventually, he turned himself in after raping another woman at a nearby store.
Now, Gabrielle is busy urging lawmakers to increase the funding of rape crisis centers across America. She says this mission is her responsibility.
"I was lucky to be raped in an affluent community where our police force was well funded, well staffed and underworked, and our rape crisis center was overstaffed and well funded," she says. "But I recognize that most people don't have that same treatment."
"Thank you for your strength," Oprah says.
When Ty returned home, Renee was dealing with the sudden death of her father. A few months later, on her 18th birthday, Ty proposed. "Ty got down on one knee and opened the ring box and asked me to marry him," Renee says. "And a little note popped up that said, 'I owe you an engagement ring.'"
Shortly after that, Ty was deployed to Iraq again. Five months later, his family received devastating news that he and six other Marines had been attacked by a suicide bomber. Ty's skull was shattered, his face, head and arms were burned beyond recognition, and his left hand had to be amputated.
Ty has undergone more than 30 surgeries and extensive physical therapy. Ty says he was optimistic, but realistic about the chances that he and Renee would stay together. "I'd ... seen a lot of things happen where marriages do end or not happen. With the severity of everything I probably could have sympathized if she would have not wanted to stick around."
Renee says she never had any intention of leaving Ty. "I didn't date him and marry him because of what he looked like," she says. "I married him because of who he is."
In October 2006, Ty and Renee were married.
During a storm one day at sea, Rose was sent below deck to clean a giant fish grinder. The machine was turned off and Rose climbed inside. Then a massive wave hit the ship and knocked a crew member off balance straight into the power switch that controlled the grinder. As the machine started up, Rose was trapped inside. "I could feel my ankles crunch. It grabbed my legs so fast. It was just immediate pain and I was screaming for help and hollering for them to turn the machine off."
Rose was trapped, completely conscious and in intense pain for two hours. Though her co-workers were finally able to free her using plasma torches and welding equipment, Rose was still in grave danger. Her lower legs were completely mangled and she was bleeding nearly to death.
But Rose wasn't only fighting for her own life. The morning of the accident, Rose had discovered that she was pregnant. The boat was hundreds of miles from land and bad weather was making it nearly impossible for a Coast Guard rescue helicopter to reach Rose and her unborn baby.
After 15 excruciating hours, the Coast Guard helicopter arrived. In his first hoist rescue, Petty Officer Ben Cournia loaded Rose into a basket and hoisted up to the helicopter.
When she arrived at the hospital—20 hours after she was crushed in a fish grinder—Rose had to receive three and a half pints of blood to replace all that she'd lost. "They said that my body had pretty much shut down blood flow to every part except for the parts that you require to survive, like your lungs, your heart and your brain," Rose says.
Rose and Alex discussed the prognosis. They "decided that he went through the same 20 hours of trauma that I did," Rose says. "He was still fighting to live so he deserved to be here."
Rose and Alex say that their baby boy, Aries, is now doing very well.