It was music that provided her with some solace after a shocking tragedy changed the course of Carmina Salcido's young life forever. She learned to play ten instruments and most of all loved to sing. Earlier this year, the 24-year-old made it past the first round of auditions for the TV singing competition, "American Idol."
Salcido didn't advance to the next round but has pledged to keep working on her voice -- a recent evening found her impressing patrons during a karaoke performance at a San Francisco bar -- and said she will try out for "Idol" again.
Watch the full story on "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
The next Idol opportunity is not all Salcido has to look forward to -- she's also pregnant with her first child. Salcido is naming her Zophia Angela in honor of her older sister and mother, who were murdered in an infamous rampage that left Salcido herself clinging to life.
At age 3, Carmina survived the shocking massacre of her entire family. Her father, Ramon Salcido, then a 28-year-old hard-drinking and hot-tempered vineyard worker, ambushed his co-workers, murdered his wife, several in-laws and slashed the throats of his three young daughters, leaving them for dead in a garbage dump. Miraculously, she survived.
CLICK HERE to read an excerpt of Carmina Salcido's book, "Not Lost Forever"
On April 14, 1989, detectives traced the trail of the killer who had left seven people dead across 30 miles of wine country: from the vineyard to his home where he shot his wife and ultimately to the dump, where he left his daughters before he fled to Mexico. Ramon Salcido was moving faster than either the cops or the press could comprehend.
Ramon Salcido's killing spree upended life as Carmina knew it. She said she remembers details from that traumatizing day vividly: Her father picked her up out of bed, put her and her sisters in the car and drove away.
"I remember ... him carrying me out of the house that morning," she told ABC's "20/20." "Probably about 15 minutes into driving I lean up over the front seat and go, 'Papa where are we going?' He turned around. He was mad. He turned around and gave me such an evil look, and he's like, 'Shut up and sit down.'"
She said that before her father slit her sisters' throats; the air was filled with a "dark energy."
"I look over at my sister Sofia, and she has this look of terror on her face. She knows something's terribly wrong. The atmosphere is just thick," she told "20/20." "I'm looking up at him, [and said] 'Papa, please don't cut me.'"
Salcido said the girls didn't cry when their father first took her sister Teresa, threw her on the ground and slashed her across the belly and throat.
"There's no crying," she said. "It was silent -- like lambs led to a slaughter."
Crime scene photos confirm Carmina's account.
"[He] grabs my hair, pulls my head back and I put my hands up … protecting, so he cut open my fingers and I moved them." And then, she told "20/20", her father slashed her throat." I move my hands out of the way, [in] one clean cut. It was just like a razor. You almost don't feel anything. And I just went out."