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Survivor's powerful story of recovery & strength becomes focus of new documentary

Over the course of the week, a crew will be meeting with Chapa and loved ones throughout the Coastal Bend, filming interviews for the documentary.

SINTON, Texas — It was a horrific attack on two young women at a Portland park in June of 2012; an attack that resulted in one of their deaths and the other's life, and that of her loved ones, forever altered. 

As we near the 10-year anniversary, Kristene Chapa's story of survival, strength and resilience, as well as the memory of Mollie Olgin, will be the focus of a new documentary. 

"Talking about the attack, it does trigger me, but I know that talking about it too can help others," said Chapa who explained that over the years, that being accessible and communicative with other survivors of gun violence and sexual assault has become a personal priority for her.

"A bunch of people will message me and they're always surprised that I always message everyone back. I want them to know that they're not alone and they're loved and to never give up." 

Over the course of the Spring Break week, a crew will be meeting with Chapa and loved ones throughout the Coastal Bend, filming interviews for the documentary. Ahead of those stretch of interviews, she and her mother met with 3News to talk about where she is now in terms of recovery and her hopes for the documentary and its message.

Over the last near 10 years, Chapa has made strides in her recovery, but she says it's far beyond what you can see. Working toward it is an everyday process. She shared that she has limited mobility and also struggles with PTSD.

"Disabilities -- isn't just physical. It's mental too," Chapa said. "Everyday is a struggle, and I fight everyday to be here, but I choose to be here." 

It's that same fight that caught the attention of director and filmmaker, Charlie Minn. He reached out to Chapa about two weeks ago. She shared why she agreed to work on the documentary with him:

"What caught me was that it was going to be a motivational and inspirational documentary, and it's not really going to focus on the crime." 

Chapa said another big reason she said yes was that Minn would be also focused on sharing more of Olgin's story: who she was and the memories with loved ones that she leaves behind. 

"In the documentary, I want people to walk away knowing her, or as if they almost knew her," Chapa said. "I just want them to know she's not forgotten, and she's loved."

For Minn, he found the opportunity to tell an impactful story he believes could motivate and inspire others.

"I love that saying, 'a setback sets up a comeback,' and that's Kristene Chapa," Minn said. "Kristene is the ultimate survivor. It's unbelievable. Her courage. Her resiliency. A lot of people would be bitter, and understandably so, but Kristene brought a very positive attitude, which I think actually helped in her recovery."

Minn will spend the week interviewing loved ones of Kristene as well as Mollie. However, one thing he says that will not be discussed:

"Without one mention of the killer," Minn said. "They don't deserve any attention and I think if I keep talking about the killers in my movies, that's only going to create copy cats. So, you will not hear the person's name in jail. Or any suspects they may have." 

In addition to sharing Kristene and Mollie's story, Minn says he hopes the documentary can also bring a heightened awareness to personal safety. 

"This should affect any human being. A woman, not just someone who is part of LGBTQ, but anyone," Minn said. "I mean, this could happen to anybody, anyone could be targeted, anyone could be at the wrong place, and at the wrong time." 

Minn described Chapa as a "9-hour miracle," as that was the amount of time that passed until someone a bird-watcher, happened to see her and Mollie laying, left for dead, after the horrific attack at the park. 

No one could be more proud of Kristene's progress though than the woman who's been there at her side since the very beginning. 

"I'm very proud of Kristene, she's done a lot," said Grace Chapa, Kristene's mother. 

"From the very beginning you know, even when she was in elementary she would always tell me she was gonna go to college. When she became a senior, she was still telling me that she was gonna go to school... And then all this happened, and we've been through a lot, a lot of therapy, and she always struggled, but she tried her best to do what she could."

Kristene is the youngest of two siblings: an older brother and sister. 

Several of the day-to-day activities many of us might take for granted, she instead recognizes it as a privilege and a testament of how far she's come, describing that much of those activities had to be completely re-learned. Her mother right at her side. 

"I had my independence and my security taken away, but after the attack, I went from being independent to like a baby again, just re-learning everything." 

"I'm real proud of her," said Grace. "She's come a long way, and she's doing really good." 

The two expressed their gratitude to the community and Coastal Bend's support over the last several years, as well as to Minn for continuing to share her story and message in that in may help others to never give up, especially in the moments when it seems the most difficult. 

Minn says the target release date for the documentary will be in the fall, either September or October. 

While it's expected to be a very busy week for Chapa and her family, she shared there are some other exciting things happening in her life: her recent engagement to now fiancé and a key player in her support system, Alondra Nevares, a new book that's in the works, and that she's currently studying at Texas A&M Kingsville to become a speech therapist with a goal to graduate in a couple of years. 

"I just want to help others in any way that I'm able," said Chapa.

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