Produced by Gail Zimmerman and Stephen McCain
[This story was first broadcast on Dec. 10, 2011. It was updated on March 9, 2013.]
OAKLEY, Utah -- When the Tiede family headed off to spend a snowy Christmas at their remote family cabin, they had no idea what the trip would bring. Two sisters who survive a harrowing home invasion share the terrifying story in their first extended television interview.
Linae Tiede: My family owns a beautiful cabin in Oakley, Utah. The sound of the river, the horses that are down in the pasture, the birds -- it's absolutely heaven on earth to me.
My mom had given it a name: "Tiede's Tranquility," because of the serenity and peace.
Trish Tiede: The cabin was an awesome place to go to.
As a young child, I loved going up there, bringing aunts and uncles, and cousins.
The cabin was about 2-and-a-half miles off the road....And you have to snowmobile in during the wintertime. It was an escape from the world for our family.
Trish Tiede: It was the winter of 1990.
Linae Tiede: I was 20 years old. And my little sister was 16.
Trish Tiede: It was Christmastime. We're off for the holidays.
Trish Tiede: There's a large Christmas tree with lots of gifts around it.
Linae Tiede: My mom even had our Christmas stockings hung under the fireplace mantel, ready for Santa to come (smiles at the memory).
Three days before Christmas, our family had to finish up our Christmas shopping and head back up to the family cabin.
My mom and grams and I arrived at the cabin...first.
And my hands were freezing. ...it was a bitter cold winter that year. I asked my mom to hurry...and unlock the door. I needed to run in and run my hands under some water and I would be right back down to help her.
I got to the top of the stair...and I saw a gray flash...go behind the refrigerator. And the first thought that popped in my mind was, "Oh, a cousin's here already" ...and was going to jump out and say boo! ...It didn't turn that way.
Behind the refrigerator came...a frizzy headed man...in a gray sweatshirt with his pistol pointed at me. I assumed that he would just want to rob us. And be on his way.
As soon as my mom came to the top of the stairs, out from the back bedroom, another robber...with really thick, coke-bottle glasses on was pointing a g -- gun at my mother.
My mom was saying to 'em, "What is it you want? Why are you here? I'll give you anything." ...Seconds after she had said that, gunfire started imploding, exploding, explosion. From everywhere I saw my mom go down. I turned at that point. And looked over my shoulder to my Grams. And saw her get shot in the head. And blood spray everywhere. ...I heard her gasp for some breath.
And then it was just dead silence. I felt pretty certain that they were dead.
My thoughts were turned...to knowing that within minutes my dad and sister would be coming.
I can remember hearing snowmobiles coming in the distance. And my heart sinking to my gut. Knowing that [emotional] that was my dad and sister.