Brittney Bergeron: 20/20 Stabbing Survivor

January 10, 2009

When she was just ten years old, Brittney Bergeron survived a brutal crime that left her paralyzed. Last night on 20/20 she shared her horrifying story. Read more and see pictures here.

Brittney Bergeron

Brittney Bergeron was the daughter of parents who struggled with drugs, alcohol and gambling. Both had done time for various offenses and that left Britney and her 3-year-old sister Kristyanna Cowan left to fend for themselves often.

Her mother and new boyfriend moved the girls to a small gambling town outside of Vegas. And while the couple gambled up to $18,000 a month and got high on methamphetamines, Brittney cared for her little sister.

“I fed her. I made sure she got to bed. I made sure she had clean clothes.�

Then in January 2003, Brittney and Kristyanna were home alone while the adults were gambling. Just after 1 a.m., 19-year-old Beau Maestas and his 16-year-old sister Monique came to the trailer looking for Brittney’s mother and boyfriend. They were upset because they had been sold $125 of methamphetamines, but claim that it was actually salt.

“I went to the lady and said, ‘Look, this is salt. I’d like my money back.'” he told police. “And I was like, ‘You want this to get ugly?'”

The went to the casino to confront Brittney’s mother and boyfriend, but the teenagers were asked to leave the casino because they were underage. Enraged, they planned their revenge.

Beau and Monique went to the trailer where Brittney and her sister were sleeping and knocked on the door, telling Brittney that her mother was hurt at the casino and needed help. Brittney opened the door and went to get her shoes, but the siblings grabbed her and began punching her. She fought for her life, and desperately tried to protect her sister. Beau stabbed 32-pound Kristyanna with a large kitchen knife, while Monique stabbed Brittney 27 times.

Tamara Bergeron returned to the trailer and began holding towels over her lesions to stop the bleeding. A neighbor called casino security, which then called the police.

The sisters were flown to the Trauma Center at University Medical Center in Las Vegas and rushed into surgery. Kristyanna had been stabbed, and the knife had pierced her skull and brain. Kristyanna never made it out alive. Meantime, Brittney was in the operating room for two hours. Upon waking up, she learned that one of the knife wounds had severed her spinal cord and she could never walk again.

But Brittney has kept a positive out look about her prognosis.

“A lot of people have come up to me and say, you know, do you miss walking? And I say, you know, actually, I don’t. Overall, I think I like being in a wheelchair better because I have a better life. Before I didn’t have such a great life.”

Brittney now lives with one of Nevada’s award-winning foster care parents, Judy and Bill Himel, who take care of her and meet all her medical needs, and last summer they adopted her. Brittney has undergone hundreds of hours of counseling and physical therapy, and has adjusted to life as a paraplegic. She is now an accomplished athlete, competing in more than 15 states in track and field, and hopes to be in the Para-Olympics in London in 2012. Brittney Bergeron Himel now has a good family, and all the money she will need from a $5.5 million trust fund she won in a settlement from the CasaBlanca hotel-casino, which owned the trailer park the attack took place.

The Maestas siblings each pleaded guilty to murder. Beau Maestas was sentenced to death, but his case is under appeal. Monique received life in prison, and won’t be eligible for parole until she is 65. Tamara Bergeron and Robert Schmidt were charged with neglect and sentenced to prison.

See more pictures below.

Brittney Bergeronbeau monique mug shot

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8 Responses to “Brittney Bergeron: 20/20 Stabbing Survivor”

  1. 1
    Poptart Says:

    I watched that 20/20 thing last night and i was shocked. i couldn’t believe that someone would do that to poor, unable to fight children im glad that the man that killed the little girl got death penalty

  2. 2
    Jen Says:

    I know I was shocked as well, I couldn’t believe someone could kill a little girl and hurt another little girl so badly. All over $125. Sick.

    I am so happy Brittney has a good life now.

  3. 3
    frank Says:

    is not this a sick page ? with ads behind the under lines, in such a tragic stabbing….even hidden cutlery behind the weapon used… how sick can you people get…any thing to make a buck

  4. 4
    porsche oconnor Says:

    thats the sadest thing i have ever read :(. I feelso bad and i hope shes alright well i am also feeling bad about her sister but things tike that happen and it got her a better life so im sorry.!.!. lover POrsche age 13

  5. 5
    porsche oconnor Says:


  6. 6
    giving love Says:

    So why did the guy get the death penalty and the girl get life? This is why I oppose the death penalty. Same crime, man gets death, woman gets life. Think if it were a black man and a white man. the black guy got death and the white guy got life? The death penalty is not evenly doled out. It is De facto discriminatory in its application.

  7. 7
    miley Says:

    I was shocked as well!! I couldn’t believe someone would do something like that over drugs like people are crazy this days!!
    Also, i dont get how the man gets death and the girl gets life like they both deserve death they took away the life of a 3 year-old and left a ten year-old paralized over DRUGS!!

  8. 8
    sean quezambra Says:

    wat up this is ur cuz sean plz rite bake