Dawnette Wilt: Where is Christopher Wilder’s Survivor Now?

With Hulu’s ‘The Beauty Queen Killer: 9 Days of Terror’ delving into the profound courage of Tina Risico in the face of serial killer Christopher Wilder in 1984, we get a docuseries unlike any other. That’s because not only does it shine a light upon her as a person rather than a mere victim, but it also chronicles the experiences of this heinous monster’s other two admittedly rare survivors. Amongst them is actually Dawnette Sue Wilt, whose time as a captive was honestly extremely similar to that of Tina’s, yet also not at all considering the latter had played a role in her abduction.

Dawnette Wilt Was Taken From Her Safe Space

It was April 10, 1984, when everything turned upside down for 16-year-old Gary, Indiana, native Dawn while she was at the Southlake Mall applying for a job so as to be a little more independent. The truth is her mother was a manager in a retail store within this establishment, and all her friends already had part-time jobs, leading her to decide it would be best for her to start working too. Though little did she know that almost as soon as she tried to materialize it, she’d be approached by a fellow young woman asking if she was interested in modeling in a show to be held at the mall later.

Dawn did think it was strange her mother hadn’t mentioned any such opportunity before since she had previously dabbled in this area, but she also didn’t deem the idea of it surprising. Therefore, when a man suddenly came forward and took over the conversation, claiming to be a photographer, she believed him – he then lured her out under the pretense of them having to go to a nearby warehouse for some change in clothing. But alas, as they approached her vehicle, he pulled out a weapon, forced her into her car, and had his “accomplice” follow him in theirs – she later learned the former was also a victim, 16-year-old Tina Marie Risico.

Nevertheless, while Dawn concedes she holds no grudges against Tina for complying with their perpetrator’s demands in order to survive, the way her experiences panned out did make her come across as an abettor. After all, apart from actually going along with his plan to lure her, she said nothing as he raped her several times on their way to New York before continuing to do so in a motel while also torturing her with electrocution. Then there’s the fact that when this duo was briefly left alone in the car, and the former tried to talk about how they could escape, the Californian girl quickly shut down the conversation in its entirety.

Thus came April 12, which is when Christopher (aka the Beauty Queen Killer or the Snapshot Killer) took Dawn into the forest and attempted to suffocate her prior to stabbing her twice. She was barely conscious at the time, yet she had enough sense to understand I’d be too late if she didn’t help herself, so she stood up, took off her jeans, and tied them on her topless chest to stop the bleeding. She then walked straight to the main road, where a passing truck driver quickly noticed her state, helped her into his vehicle, and then rushed to the Soldiers and Sailors Hospital.

Tina Risico

Dawn had to undergo immediate surgery since Christopher had punctured her lung while attempting to go for her heart, making it clear if she hadn’t got up when she did, she could have died. Her subsequent statements to the police regarding her ordeal then genuinely helped authorities figure out where he was, just for Tina to soon turn up in California – the killer had let her go for her cooperation. But alas, in the end, while all charges against the fellow teen were dismissed owing to her lack of control over anything, he ended up passing away on April 13 while on his way to Canada.

Dawnette Wilt is a Proud Family Woman

It was only Christopher’s demise that helped Dawn finally feel relief over the fact she didn’t have to continue her life looking over her shoulder, but her sense of trust and her inner self had been eternally altered. She did try to return to school within mere weeks while also maintaining her prior spirit, yet it was often simply too much, too soon – nevertheless, it wasn’t until she was 30 that she realized she had post-traumatic stress disorder. Her anxiousness over the littlest things, her need to control every situation, plus her moods were all a result of her experiences, but she’s glad she has since gradually been able to move on by talking about it all.

The fact Dawn’s a happily married mother of two adult daughters also plays a role in keeping her content these days, especially since they give her a purpose as well as an unwavering sense of belonging. Unfortunately, though, we do not know much else regarding her current standing since it appears as if she prefers to remain well away from the limelight after having likely taken her partner’s last name for good.

Read More: Tina Marie Risico: Where is The Beauty Queen Killer’s Survivor Now?