Mystery Doorbell Ringer Comes Forward, Shares Chilling Survival Story

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This woman's terrifying story gripped the nation before anyone knew her name or heard her reveal what had happened to her.

America first saw her as a nameless woman who, while wearing restraints and a large tee shirt, rang a neighbor's doorbell late at night.

Her name is Lauren, and her story is every bit as chilling as people feared.

Doorbell Mystery Video

Lauren is 32 years old. She says that one night, she awoke to her 49-year-old boyfriend, Dennis Ray Collins, kneeling on her chest.

He was stuffing some sort of fabric into her mouth.

Her feet and ankles were bound by restraints, and she had duct tape on her head.

She reveals that, at the time, she fully believed that she was going to die.

Lauren 01

She says that she tried to cling to hope during the sexual assault that followed.

Lauren says: "I just kept repeating in my head ‘God has more for me than this, I’m not gonna die here tonight,'"

She had been living with Collins for 4 months at the time of the rape.

She says that afterwards, he allowed her to go to the kitchen to get some water -- because her throat hurt from screaming.

This, she reveals, is when she saw her chance to escape -- and took it.

Dennis Collins

We can never imagine how much bravery it took her to make that dash for the door and leave.

As natural as the instinct to flee is, there is also a powerful instinct in many people to cooperate with a threat in the hopes of survival. Neither instinct is always right, but Lauren made the right choice.

She says that she flagged down a car, asking the driver to help her -- but that the driver took one look at her and sped away.

It was then that Lauren was famously recorded ringing a doorbell. She rang several doorbells.

Lauren explains that she was in fear for her life, but convinced that if someone saw her and made eye contact with her, that she woudl be safe.

Lauren at the Doorbell

In the end, Lauren was able to go back for her car to drive away. It was 3 in the morning, and her chances of getting someone to answer the door were slim.

Again, we cannot imagine how much courage it took for her to return to the one place where she knew that Collins might be.

Lauren drove to safety while the homeowner's whose doorbell caught Lauren on video contacted law enforcement, fearing for this mystery woman's life.

It was five days after the video surfaced that Collins committed suicide.

In his suicide note, he apologized to Lauren -- which, obviously, doesn't mean much, considering what he had done to her -- and swears that he had not planned to kill her.

Lauren 02

"I never would have killed you like you thought," Collins claimed. "I’m sorry for what I’ve done and I wish I could turn back time."

He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Lauren is grappling with powerful emotions in the aftermath of this trauma. She even feels a misplaced sense of guilt over Collins' death.

But, speaking to Inside Edition, she admits that she believe that he would have taken her life.

"I worry if this video didn’t come out," Lauren admits. "And if he were not gone -- then I eventually would be."

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