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Krystal Surles: Survivor of a Horrific Attack


By BiographiesPublished 20 days ago 3 min read
Krystal Surles: Survivor of a Horrific Attack
Photo by Kevin Woblick on Unsplash

Krystal Surles is a name synonymous with survival and resilience. Born in the late 1980s, she became a notable figure after surviving a brutal attack by a notorious serial killer, Tommy Lynn Sells, in December 1999. Her story is one of remarkable bravery and serves as a powerful testament to the human spirit's capacity to endure and overcome unimaginable trauma.

Early Life

Krystal Surles grew up in a small town in Texas, living a relatively normal life for a child her age. Her life took a dramatic and violent turn just days after Christmas in 1999, changing the course of her future and thrusting her into the national spotlight.

The Attack

The Night of Terror

On the night of December 31, 1999, Krystal Surles was staying at the home of her friend, Kaylene Harris, in Del Rio, Texas. That night, Tommy Lynn Sells, a drifter and serial killer, broke into the Harris home. Sells had a long history of violent crimes and had been evading capture for years.

In a gruesome and unprovoked attack, Sells first killed 13-year-old Kaylene by slashing her throat. He then turned his attention to 10-year-old Krystal. Sells cut Krystal's throat, leaving her for dead. Despite her severe injuries, Krystal managed to survive the attack, displaying incredible courage and determination.

Survival and Rescue

The Escape

After Sells left the house, believing both girls to be dead, Krystal summoned every ounce of strength she had. She managed to walk a quarter of a mile to a neighbor's house, bleeding profusely and unable to speak due to her throat injury. She used gestures and writing to communicate what had happened, alerting the neighbors to the horrific crime.

Medical Attention and Recovery

Krystal was rushed to the hospital, where doctors worked to save her life. Her injuries were severe, and she required extensive medical treatment and surgery to repair the damage to her throat. Despite the trauma, Krystal's determination to survive and her ability to communicate crucial details about the attack were pivotal in the subsequent investigation.

The Hunt for Tommy Lynn Sells

Identification and Capture

Krystal's detailed description of her attacker played a critical role in the manhunt for Tommy Lynn Sells. She provided enough information for authorities to identify and apprehend him. Sells was arrested on January 2, 2000, just days after the attack, bringing an end to his reign of terror.

Trial and Conviction

Tommy Lynn Sells was charged with the murder of Kaylene Harris and the attempted murder of Krystal Surles. During his trial, Krystal's testimony was crucial in securing his conviction. Despite the trauma she had endured, she faced her attacker in court, providing compelling and courageous testimony. Sells was found guilty and sentenced to death for his crimes.

Aftermath and Legacy

Life After the Attack

Krystal Surles' life was forever changed by the attack. She faced a long and difficult recovery process, both physically and emotionally. Her story of survival has been an inspiration to many, demonstrating remarkable resilience and strength. Krystal's ability to overcome such a horrific experience and her role in bringing a dangerous serial killer to justice is a testament to her extraordinary courage.

Advocacy and Public Speaking

In the years following the attack, Krystal Surles has become an advocate for crime victims and has shared her story to raise awareness about the impact of violent crime. She has spoken publicly about her experiences, aiming to inspire others and promote healing for survivors of trauma. Her journey from victim to survivor has provided hope and encouragement to many people facing their own challenges.

Tommy Lynn Sells: The Serial Killer

Background and Crimes

Tommy Lynn Sells was a notorious serial killer responsible for multiple murders across the United States. His crimes spanned over two decades, and he was known for his brutality and lack of remorse. Sells confessed to numerous murders, but the exact number of his victims remains unknown. His capture and conviction were largely due to the bravery and resilience of Krystal Surles.


Tommy Lynn Sells was executed by lethal injection on April 3, 2014, in Texas. His death marked the end of a long and painful chapter for the families of his victims. Krystal Surles' testimony and the evidence she provided were instrumental in ensuring that Sells faced justice for his crimes.


Krystal Surles' story is one of incredible bravery and resilience in the face of unimaginable horror. Her survival and the crucial role she played in the capture and conviction of Tommy Lynn Sells have left an indelible mark on the criminal justice system and on the hearts of those who have heard her story. Krystal continues to inspire others with her strength and advocacy, turning her personal tragedy into a powerful force for good.


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