Brenda Lin, the sole survivor of the horrific massacres that claimed the lives of her mother, father, aunt and two brothers, has publicly revealed for the first time that her uncle, Robert Xie, sexually abused her.
“That’s something that… I’m very private about. And it’s something that at this point in time I don’t feel comfortable talking about as well,” she told host Melissa Doyle in the chilling premiere episode of Sunday Night.
At Xie’s trial, the prosecution claimed his motive for murder was his sexual obsession with his niece.
He killed her entire family so she would be forced to live with him under his roof.
Brenda, who was left an orphan, ultimately moved in with her aunt Kathy and Uncle Robert and the sexual assaults that started before the murders continued.
But she said it was difficult to comprehend that the abuse could have been Xie’s motivation for brutally killing her mother Lily, father Min, aunt Irene, and brothers Terry and Henry.
“But I also don’t think that something like this would warrant him to kill five people. I don’t know what goes through his mind and I can’t be sure and I don’t think I ever will be sure about why he was motivated to do what he did.“
Inside the courtroom, the judge said Brenda was subjected to “serialised sexual abuse” for the two years that Brenda lived with Xie.
But despite his inappropriate behaviour, Brenda said she never suspected her uncle could have been capable of murder.
“He wasn’t a murderer in my eyes,” she said.
“Realising that he might be involved was something that was life changing.”
Brenda’s aunt Kathy has continued to deny her husband’s involvement in the massacre.
Kathy insists that Xie is innocent and played no part in the killings despite being found guilty and sentenced to five consecutive life sentences behind bars.
For Brenda, Kathy’s denial has destroyed their once close relationship.
She is no longer in contact with her aunt.
“Which is really sad because I don’t have a lot of family left,” she said.
“I hope one day she can realise that all I did was tell the truth and if he really is someone that’s done this horrible thing then she’s better off not with him.”
Through tragedy, Brenda has found hope in the local community. Her friends have rallied around her to help her through her darkest days.
A key person in Brenda’s journey is her high school principal Susan Bridge.
“I was always worried that she wouldn’t remember how to love, that that would be something that was also taken from her,” Susan said.
“I need not have worried. She taught me that love is the most important thing.”
Brenda has vowed to honour her family in every way that she can.
“I like to be someone they’re proud of,” she said.
“I want to be able to show kindness to people, to others, why they’ve shown kindness to me because it’s made a very, very big impact to who I am now and what I have now. I’m extremely, extremely grateful.”