Wisconsin girls charged with 'Slenderman' stabbing
Two 12-year-old girls in the US state of Wisconsin have been accused of stabbing a classmate in order to please an online fictional character.
Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier have been charged with attempted murder and face up to 65 years in prison.
The unnamed victim was stabbed 19 times on Saturday and left in the woods.
The girls reportedly planned the crime to demonstrate dedication to Slenderman, a character who appears in stories on the website Creepypasta.
The victim, 12, was reportedly found by a cyclist on Saturday after crawling from the woods with stab wounds to her arms, legs and torso.
She was said to be in stable condition as of Monday evening, local media reported.
Both suspects were later found walking near a local highway, and a knife was found in one of the girls' backpacks, police said.Cold blood
According to police, the girls planned to stab the classmate during a sleepover but instead decided to commit the crime the next morning in a nearby park.
Following their arrest they told investigators about their belief in paranormal figure Slenderman and their desire to become his "proxies" by killing to demonstrate their loyalty, police said.
They said that after the murder, they intended to walk to Slenderman's mansion, which they believed was situated in Wisconsin's Nicolet National Forest, police said.
The operator of Creepypasta issued a statement following the arrest, extending condolences to the families involved but adding it was not "the fault of Slenderman or horror writing in general that this happened".
The suspects are being held in lieu of $500,000 (£298,506) bond and may be charged as adults due to the calculated nature of the crime, authorities said.
"It's troubling when a person lashes out in anger," Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"It's more troubling when they lash out in cold blood," he added. "It's a very shocking incident. There's no two ways about it."