WAUKESHA, Wis. (WLS) --Prosecutors say two 12-year-old southeastern Wisconsin girls stabbed their 12-year-old friend nearly to death in the woods to please a mythological creature they learned about online.
Both girls were charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide Monday in Waukesha County Circuit Court; they each face up to 60 years in prison if convicted. A court commissioner set bail at $500,000 cash per child. According to a criminal complaint, the girls had been planning to kill their friend for months and finally made the attempt in a park on Saturday morning, after a slumber party.
One of the girls told a detective they were trying to become "proxies" of Slender Man, a mythological demon-like character they learned about on creepypasta.wikia.com, a website about horror stories and legends. They planned to run away to the demon's forest mansion after the slaying, the complaint said.
"I recognize their young ages but it's still unbelievable," Court Commissioner Thomas Pieper said during one of the girls' initial court appearances Monday.
Both girls appeared in court wearing shackles and jail jumpsuits. They were surrounded by sheriff's baliffs, who towered over them. Family members of one of the girls wept openly as reporters snapped photographs. The other girl's family sat stone-faced.
According to the criminal complaint, one of the girls told an investigator they began planning to kill their friend in December. The other girl told police they decided to kill her so they could become proxies of Slender Man, who would accept them and let them live with him in his mansion in the Nicolet National Forest.
The other girl said she sees Slender Man in her dreams. She said he watches her and can read her mind and teleport.
Police say two 12-year-old girls lured their friend into some woods in southeastern Wisconsin where one of them held her down as the other stabbed her 19 times. Police say the victim's condition is stable.
On Saturday morning, a bicyclist discovered the 12-year-old girl, who had been stabbed multiple times, trying to make her way out of a wooded area in Waukesha. She had been lured there by two middle school classmates after a sleepover the night before. They were going to play games, Waukesha's police chief says, but the real intent was to kill.
"Once there, one suspect held down the victim while the other suspect stabbed the victim 19 times in the arms, legs and torso. Many of the stab wounds hit major organs, but incredibly and thankfully, the victim survived this brutal assault," said Chief Russell Jack, Waukesha Police Dept.
The two young girls said to be responsible were later spotted and taken into custody by sheriff's deputies. They appeared in court Monday afternoon, and were charged with first degree attempted homicide. Because they are juveniles, their names and faces were not revealed. Under Wisconsin law, they could be charged as adults. Police said the two girls were picked up within hours of the attack, and have confessed to their actions. They explained to police that they'd regularly visited an Internet site that carried horror and murder stories, and they figured that a real murder would win them favor with a fictional website character they believed to be real.
"There is not just one Internet site they were accessing to get this information. There are multiple websites of a similar nature that deal with the particular incident," said Chief Jack.
The act, the ages, and possibly unfettered Internet access, the chief says, makes this a disturbing investigation.
"This should serve as a wake-up call for all parents. Parents are strongly encouraged to restrict and monitor their children's Internet usage," said Chief Jack.
A knife believed to have been used in the stabbing has been recovered, police said. One stab wound missed a major artery near the victim's heart by a millimeter, doctors told police. She was rushed into surgery, police said.
"It's extremely disturbing as a parent and as chief of police," Jack said at a news conference ahead of the court appearances Monday.
The girls invited their friend to a slumber party on Friday evening, the complaint said. They planned to kill her during the night so they wouldn't have to look into her eyes, one girl told police, and then run away. They decided to put it off, but the next day, during a hide-and-seek game in a wooded park, they attacked their friend with a knife. One girl told the other to "go ballistic, go crazy," according to the complaint.
The victim began to scream that she hated them and started stumbling away, one of the girls told police.
One of the girl's attorneys, Donna Kuchler, asked Pieper to remove reporters from the courtroom because she planned to attempt to get her client waived into juvenile court. Pieper refused. Kuchler escorted the girl's family out of the courtroom, telling reporters only that the family was horrified at what happened. The other girl's attorney, Joseph Smith Jr., led her family out of court. He declined to comment. Both girls are due back in court on June 11 for a status conference.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.The Associated Press contributed to this report.