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09/11/2014 10:44 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Shanae Watkins, Who Became A Killer At Age 12, Turned Her Life Around (VIDEO)

Shanae Watkins had a traumatic childhood no one would envy. For much of her youth, she had been in and out of foster homes. By age 10, she was drinking and doing drugs. At 11, she was gang raped and became pregnant. And at 12, she had become a killer.

In 1997 on a Baltimore street, Shanae got into a fight with 13-year-old Chineye Mills, allegedly over a boy. Shanae fatally stabbed the girl in the neck with a kitchen knife. Chineye died from her wounds, and Shanae was sent to a juvenile detention center that housed some of the most violent young offenders in the country.

After her release from the juvenile home, Shanae appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2003 (along with another girl who had stabbed someone) and shared her remorse for taking a life. However, after the show, Shanae continued to rebel, as she admits to "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" more than 15 years after killing Chineye.

"I [was] just coming out of high school. I've got one child, I'm going to have another child. Nothing was really going right at that point," Shanae says.

The teen had been living with her grandmother, who decided to kick Shanae out of the house. "My grandmother said that my daughter and I had to go," she remembers. "Back then, I thought it was the meanest thing in the world. But it actually saved me. It's tough love."

Today, 29-year-old Shanae says her life is completely different than it was all those years ago. She works as an operations supervisor and has three children that she loves more than anything. While she has turned her life around, there is one thing she hasn't done: met with her victim's family.

"There was a time where we were supposed to get together... That never really came together," Shanae says. "I always thought that I would be able to say, 'I'm sorry'... You know, there's somebody's parent out there who doesn't have their child anymore, and it was at my hands."

In her own life, Shanae, who recently penned her autobiography, From Girlhood to Womanhood: The Shanae Watkins Story, hopes to continue moving on a positive path. "God willing, I will continue to be successful in life, I will make a good example for my children and build a good foundation for them," she says. "That's all I really want to do. Be a good role model for my children, be successful and help some people along the way."

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

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