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Stories of Survival Pt.1 - Jennifer Holliday

Written by: Jenae

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault and Torture


One evening in May 2005 in a small Texas town, Jennifer Holliday goes to pick up her young cousin, Ana late at night. With her cousin in the passenger seat, Jennifer was driving down a desolate highway when she heard a loud bang. Ana screamed in terror at the sight she saw, Jennifer had been shot. It took Jennifer moments to realize what had happened. A man had driven up next to Jennifer and shot a shotgun through her car’s window. Jennifer was hit in the arm, losing most of it. This forced Jennifer to pull over.

Once stopped, Ana called 911. In the meantime, Jennifer’s attacker pulled up right behind her car. He walked up to the women and addressed them, making small talk and laughing like he hadn’t just shot a woman’s arm nearly off. He reached across Jennifer to Ana, taking the phone from her before throwing it in a ditch.

He stayed at the driver’s side of the car and shot towards the passenger seat, shooting Ana in the temple, killing her. Ana was 17 at the time of her death. The shooter than dragged Jennifer out of her car and putting her in his own. He returned to Jennifer’s car to collect Ana’s body, leaving Jennifer in the front seat of his car with the gun. Jennifer threw the shotgun out the window before realizing the floor was covered in a variety of firearms. After deciding he couldn’t gather the body, he returned to his truck. He pulled his car back onto the highway, driving until he turned down a dirt side road. Wounded, bleeding out, and terrified, Jennifer debates grabbing a gun from the truck floor but decides not to.

As Jennifer and her attacker got further away from civilization, the shooter began to hit Jennifer, laughing every time. After driving down this dirt road for some time, the driver stopped, pulled Jennifer out of the truck and sexually assaulted her. After this act, his behavior became more strange. He started crying randomly, then asking Jennifer questions like “what happen to your arm?”. Then he’d start yelling. In an effort to save herself, Jennifer began talking to her attacker about her six year old son. Then she decided on what she’d have to do to save herself, she played along.

Jennifer pretended to be interested in her attacker. She told him how much she enjoyed her assault and showed affection to him. He then asked what happened to her again and she replied; “you just picked me up and you were going to take me to your house, remember?” He seemed confused. Jennifer then played it off like someone else had shot her, saying things like, “Thank you so much, didn’t you see that man who just shot me? Thank God you came along and saved me.” Her attacker begun to believe Jennifer. Jennifer told him that she needed to use his phone because she was losing a lot of blood. Jennifer used a piece of clothing to wrap her arm and then continued to attempt to convince her attacker to use his phone at his home. He warns her to “be good or she’ll end up like other people have ended up, or he can’t be responsible for what happens”. Finally, she gets him to agree.

The attacker lived even further from town about 20 miles, near a graveyard. When Jennifer got to her attacker’s home, she was able to call 911.

(You can listen to the 911 call here)

By the time of the phone call, the police had already found her cousin, Ana, dead on the side of the highway. The man would only agree to an ambulance at his home, no law enforcement. The operator was struggling to locate Jennifer to get her help. And even the attacker spoke to 911 to get her help.

The attacker even asked Jennifer, "Where's your friend? What happen to her?"

After 50 minutes of agony, the ambulance and law enforcement arrive. A S.W.A.T team sets up in the woods around the home. Jennifer and her attacker walk outside, towards the ambulance. The attacker is taken down by the SWAT team and Jennifer makes it to the ambulance.

The attacker's name is Eric Parnell. He's currently serving two life sentences for capital murder, aggravated assault, and kidnapping.

As a result of the attack, Jennifer has had 8 surgeries to remove bullet fragments. Even with these surgeries, Jennifer has over 30 shotgun pellets lodged in her arm, chest, and neck.

The attack cost Jennifer her job which made her surgeries completely unaffordable until her story became more widespread on the show "I Survived". Thanks to this she was able to have her much needed surgeries covered and she hopes to recover as much as possible, knowing she will never fully return to where she was before.

Sources: I Survived, Blurred by Lines

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