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Cops: Two girls, 12, accused of stabbing another girl were inspired by website

Tribune staff and wire reports
12-year-old Wisconsin girls charged with trying to kill middle-school friend

Two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls are accused of luring a middle school classmate into the woods in a Milwaukee suburb and stabbing her 19 times in an attack inspired by a horror website.

The victim, also 12, was stabbed in the legs, arms and torso in Saturday's attack but survived despite having major organs injured, police said.  She managed to crawl out of the woods and was found by a bicyclist, authorities said.

She underwent surgery and was reported to be stable.

Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were charged as adults with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in a criminal complaint filed Monday in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

A 5-inch knife was found in a backpack of one of the girls after they were taken into custody on the day of the attack, authorities said.

According to the criminal complaint, Weier was fascinated by a character on a website about horror and nightmares and was inspired to kill someone, convincing Geyser to take part in the crime, the complaint said.

Police allege the girls planned the attack for several months.

After a sleep-over on Friday night, all three girls went to play on Saturday in a park in Waukesha, 20 miles west of Milwaukee.  One girl held the victim down and stabbed her 19 times, according to the complaint and police.

An account of events leading up to the stabbing was laid out in a statement released Monday by Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack.

"Both suspects had a fascination in a fictitious character that often posted to a website that is a collection of small stories about death and horror," Jack said.

According to the criminal complaint, one of the girls told police they were trying to prove that the Slender Man, a fictitious Internet character, was real, according to local media reports. The idea allegedly was to kill as the Slender Man to prove his existence.

As online fantasy shifted into the real world and Weier heard her victim's screams, she wavered, the complaint said.

"The bad part of me wanted her to die," Weier told the detective, according to the complaint. "The good part of me wanted her to live." 

Morgan Geyser, the accused accomplice, was not so conflicted: "It was weird that I didn't feel remorse," she told a detective, the complaint said. She later added that it was "probably wrong."

The Slender Man is a monster meme created in 2009 by a user of the website Something Awful, according to the website whatculture.com. Through years of posts and back stories, the character has become a modern-day myth about a faceless man. 

Geyser said Slenderman would watch her and could read her mind. He can teleport, emits radiation that makes you sick and doesn't use computers because they don't work when he's around, she told a detective, according to the complaint. 

The character appears in many stories published in online forums, including Creepypasta.com, a place where amateur writers upload so-called fan-fiction, particularly stories about paranormal characters.

Jack called the attack a "wake-up call to parents." 

"Unmonitored and unrestricted access to the Internet by children is a growing and alarming problem," he said. "Parents are strongly encouraged to restrict and monitor their children’s Internet usage."

"Incredibly and thankfully, the victim survived this brutal assault," Jack told a news conference.

Anthony Cotton, an attorney who is representing one of the girls, expressed sympathy for the victim and her family.

"We're sorry to hear what has happened and our hearts go out to the family," Cotton said.

Bond was set at $500,000 for each of the girls, according to court records.

Los Angeles Times and Reuters contributed to this report.

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