Sole survivor of railway killer returns to Lexington to tell her story

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Holly Dunn

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LEXINGTON, Ky.  – She is the only known survivor of a killing spree that left communities across the nation in fear. Holly Dunn was a student at the University of Kentucky. In August of 1997, she and her boyfriend, Chris Maier, attended a party. As they walked back to campus along some railroad tracks, they came face to face with terror.

Rafael Resendez Ramirez, later dubbed the “Railroad Killer,” pulled a weapon on the pair. He tied up both and gagged them. Dunn says Ramirez dropped a rock on Maier’s head before raping and beating her unconscious with a wooden board. Dunn woke up and was able to stumble into a yard to get help.

By mid-1999, police were able to determine the attack was carried out by a serial killer who committed similar crimes in other states. After an extensive manhunt, police captured Ramirez. His trial began in May of 2000 in Houston, Texas. Dunn, the only survivor of an attack carried out by Ramirez, became the star witness.

Dunn released a book this month marking the 20-year anniversary of the crime. She named it “Sole Survivor.” Dunn came to Lexington to sign copies of her book as part of her national book tour. She said she’s met total strangers who told her they prayed for her 20-years ago as she recovered from the attack.

“I’ve had so many people tell me that they heard about my story. I even had my husband’s mother tell me that he had asked his mother to pray for me when I didn’t even know him yet. And that’s now my husband! So I know I’ve had strangers helping me along this journey, and this is my time to thank them.”

Dunn says writing the book was part of the healing process for her. She’s also using her experiences to help others heal, too.

The book signing at the Hamburg Barnes and Nobles is from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday night.

The state of Texas executed Ramirez in June 2006. Police linked him to at least 15 murders in six states.

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