CRIME
11/10/2011 12:44 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Lydia Tillman Talks About Attack By Travis Forbes, Convicted For Kenia Monge Murder

A woman who survived a brutal sexual attack in Colorado has come forward to tell her tale of survival while footage has emerged of the attacker storing another woman's dead body in a bakery's freezer.

Lydia Tillman tells ABC's 20/20 about recovering from a coma after she was strangled, beaten and left for dead in her burning apartment by Travis Forbes.

Tillman mustered the strength and courage to escape from her burning Fort Collins residence by leaping from a second-story window. She suffered a stroke, sending her into a five-week coma. Now Tillman is talking about the nightmare that started when she met Forbes at a July 4th fireworks show.

"I can talk," she tells 20/20. "I'm tough."

Her resilience probably surprised Forbes, 31, who tried to erase any DNA evidence that he left behind by dousing the sommelier with bleach, The Denver Post reports.. Forbes got 48 years in prison for the the attempted murder on top of the life sentence handed down when he admitted to killing of Kenia Monge, a 19-year-old coed who disappeared from a Denver nightclub in April.

Monge's remains were found in a shallow grave in September after Forbes, a granola bar salesman, temporarily stored her body in a freezer. Police used surveillance footage at a bakery where Forbes worked to piece together the case against Forbes.

Cops questioned him, because Monge's stepfather found a text message on her cellphone that the killer sent her.

Forbes told police he gave her a ride to a gas station, but she wandered off with a stranger, ABC said.

But the facts didn't stand up. Cops learned that the gas station was closed when Forbes claimed to be there in the early morning hours. They also noticed his van reeked of bleach and that the carpeting was brand new.

The surveillance cameras from the bakery showed suspicious behavior that raised more eyebrows. Cameras show Forbes unplugging a camera in the owner's office and wheeling a cooler into the freezer. He later admitted the cooler held Monge's body.

Other segments showed him with rags and bleach, according to ABC.

Detectives linked Forbes to the attack on Tillman by matching the DNA under her fingernails with his genetic makeup. The use of bleach reminded investigators of the pungent scent in Forbes' van, according ABC.

With the DNA match, they were able to arrest Forbes in July. He confessed to attacking her and killing Monge in a deal to avoid the death penalty.