Melissa Dohme could barely move. She was lying in a pool of her own blood, and her life was hanging by a thread. The student had just been stabbed over 30 times by a person she once trusted. Yet far from being the end, this was only the start of Melissa’s miraculous story.
It was January 24, 2012 when Melissa Dohme stepped out of her Clearwater, Florida home to meet her ex-boyfriend, Robert Burton. He’d lured her outside on the pretence that he wanted to say one last goodbye. Instead, he unleashed a horrific attack on the then 20-year-old student.
Dohme had broken up with Burton three months earlier. In fact, she had decided to split with her boyfriend of two years after he allegedly turned violent towards her. Dohme later claimed that Burton had threatened to kill her if she ever broke up with him. On that cold January evening in 2012, then, she feared he would do just that.
When later recalling the moments before her awful assault to 48 Hours, meanwhile, Dohme said that Burton had a “soulless,” “blank” face. Then, as the pair met for one final embrace, Burton pulled out a knife and stabbed his former girlfriend 32 times in the face and neck. The attack was so brutal, moreover, that Dohme also told the CBS show that she could feel herself dying.
And although she was completely drenched in blood and struggling to breathe, Dohme managed to call out for help in the hope someone would find her before it was too late. Luckily, a teenage couple came to her rescue. With the attack still in full swing, the pair shouted at Burton to stop. They also tried to push him off Dohme, but Burton was too heavy.
However, the couple were able to contact 911. And when emergency responders arrived on the scene, they claimed that Dohme was in one of the worst states they’d ever witnessed. Indeed, she was losing blood rapidly from the many lacerations across her neck, head, face and arms.
Ultimately, Dohme was airlifted to hospital, where she would remain for three weeks. Over that time she almost died four times, had to be transfused with 12 pints of blood and suffered a stroke. A wound to her head had also left her face semi-paralyzed on one side. Nobody knew, then, whether Dohme would ever smile again.
Meanwhile, Burton was found asleep at the wheel of his crashed pickup truck. He had overdosed on sleeping pills in what police believe was a suicide attempt. As a result, he was taken to hospital – where he later confessed to the attack.
Burton was subsequently charged with attempted first-degree murder. He pleaded guilty to the charges during his trial in August 2013; later that year, he was sentenced to life without parole.
In the meantime, Dohme had her own battle to win. Indeed, doctors had warned her that she might not walk or study again. Furthermore, she not only had to undergo ten reconstructive surgeries, but also extensive speech therapy and physiotherapy.
Astonishingly, though, Dohme managed to beat all the odds stacked against her. While surgeons revealed it was a “miracle” that Dohme was even still alive, she went on to smash their expectations further by learning to walk again just in time to collect her degree.
After finishing college, meanwhile, Dohme took time out to go on a life-changing trip around Europe. And after her vacation to the continent, Dohme realized that she had a new ambition in life: she was going to become a nurse. On returning to the United States, moreover, she also became an advocate against domestic violence, sharing her remarkable story at charity events.
What’s more, it was at one of these events that Dohme first met Cameron Hill. He had been one of the first emergency paramedics to arrive on the scene of her attack. And at the time Hill felt that, although he couldn’t make out the victim’s face or even the color of her hair due to her blood loss, he’d one day meet this girl again.
Upon meeting her once again, then, Hill couldn’t believe how well Dohme was doing following her shocking attack. Meanwhile, Dohme revealed to 48 Hours that it was “a dream come true” to meet her rescuers. And even after that one encounter it was clear to see that there was a spark between the pair.
The two began chatting online and, soon enough, a romance blossomed. Hill also invited Dohme and her mother to come visit him at the fire station he was based at. It was then that she realized her feelings were more than just a crush – and the couple soon became inseparable.
Just 18 months after her horrific experience, then, Dohme had got her life back together in the most incredible way. For example, she had found a new job working full-time as a domestic violence prevention advocate at Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay. The Tampa Bay-based charity supports various causes within the community.
More importantly, no matter what she did, Dohme had her “Prince Charming” firmly at her side. So then, it came as no surprise that when the inspirational lady was asked to throw the first pitch for the Tampa Bay Rays on May 11, 2015, Hill was there waving from the sidelines.
And it was there, right on the pitcher’s mound, that Hill decided to take their relationship to the next level. He bent down on one knee and proposed to her in front of thousands of people. Of course, Dohme said yes.
“It just probably was the best moment of my whole life, the happiest moment of my whole life,” Dohme told 48 Hours. “I can’t believe he put all that planning in, and it just showed me also how much he loves me. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The couple plan to marry in spring 2017. And although they had to meet in the most appalling of circumstances, Dohme said that she wouldn’t change a thing because it meant that she met her future husband. Somehow, then, the pair have managed to take a horror movie and turn it into a fairy-tale.