Andrew Urdiales Trial: Survivor Recounts Horrific Torture at Hands of California Serial Killer
Jennifer Asbenson returned to California's Desert Hot Springs 25 years after her abduction to record a video explaining her escape in hopes of encouraging others to never give up.
A survivor of a notorious killer was overcome with emotion as she came face to face with the monster who abducted and tortured her decades ago.
"I just tried to go somewhere else in my mind," Jennifer Asbenson told a silent courtroom of her abduction at the hands of Andrew Urdiales. "I wanted to die."
Jennifer Asbenson was 19 when she was abducted by Urdiales. But 25 years later, she returned to California's Desert Hot Springs to record a video explaining her escape in hopes of encouraging others to never give up.
Asbenson was walking to a bus stop near Palm Springs in September 1992 when she was offered a ride by Urdiales.
He drove her to a remote desert location where he tied her with rope and her own bra.
In the video, she describes the terror she experienced.
"I didn't know what he was going to do to me before he killed me and that scared me most of all," she said in the video.
She was gagged with her own underwear, which he shoved in her mouth.
“He started strangling me so hard I thought, 'This is what it feels like when you are drowning,'" she said in court.
What she could not have known was that he was a serial killer. His victims included five women in southern California and three women in Illinois.
Asbenson is the only woman known to have escaped Urdiales' clutches.
In 2017, she took Inside Edition to the desolate location and demonstrated how she was locked in the trunk of his car with her hands bound.
After struggling for hours, it was a miracle she was able to free her hands, unlock the trunk and run for her life.
"I turned and looked and he was chasing me down the road with a machete," she told Inside Edition last year.
Asbenson, an author, posted video to encourage others to never give up, even in their darkest hour.
“I escaped from a serial killer who murdered eight women,” she said in a video.
Five years after Asbenson's abduction, Urdiales was finally captured.
He confessed to murdering the eight women and admitted Asbenson was the one who got away.
“She had her hands free at the time and she ran screaming,” he told authorities.
Last month, jurors convicted the former Marine of all five "special-circumstance" murders in California.
On Wednesday, jurors recommended the 53-year-old killer be given death penalty as punishment for his crimes.
After the punishment was handed down, she told Inside Edition it was "one of the best feelings I have ever had in my entire life," adding "I feel relief."
On August 31, a California judge will determine whether Urdiales will be sent to death row.
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