Police: Website played role in Wisconsin stabbing

By KBJR News 1

June 3, 2014 Updated Jun 4, 2014 at 10:43 AM CST

Waukesha, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- Two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing their classmate over the weekend in Waukesha Wisconsin have been charged as adults with attempted first degree intentional homicide.

The victim, another 12-year-old girl who was stabbed 19 times, is in stable condition.

The police believe the attack is related to the girls' fascination with a fictitious internet character.

The girls told officers they frequently visited websites that focused on "Slenderman" and stories about death and horror.

"I came upon a 12-year-old female and she appears to be stabbed."

Those were some of the first words heard from the 911 call moments after the young victim was found.

"Do you see where the wounds are?" asked the officer.

"No, I don't know if I should be rolling her over or not," said the man heard in the 911 call.

The 12-year-old girl was stabbed 19 times.

The suspects were said to have been fixated on a fictitious character known as "Slenderman."

The girls told officers they believed he was real... and to be closer to him they needed to kill their friend.

"People get more comfortable associating something with a name or a face, or in 'Slenderman's' case lack there of one," said Addam Love, a Duluth gamer.

The fictional character, which appears to be a thin, unnaturally tall man with a featureless face, originated as an internet meme in 2009.

"With younger generations there's a lot of wanting to fit in, so if that's what people believe nowadays for them, then they want to do it so they can belong to their friends," said Love.

Duluth child psychologist, Dan D'allaird agrees, and says right around this age the reference group changes from family to friends.

He says fantasy games, creatures, and forums like "Slenderman" can pose dangers to young minds.

"It's hard to make blanket statements about kids at any age, but certainly there's a subset of kids for whom discussion of heavy topics like death or suicide, for example, are more than they can psychologically bare, and they're unusually influenced by those discussions," said D'allaird.

D'Allaird says online discussions pose different, often times more dangerous threats, than if they were happening face-to-face.

"Discussions that happen in abstract forms where there's no face-to-face person can allow their mind to run with those topics to a degree that's different than if they're talking with a friend face-to-face about it where that friend might check some of their extreme interpretations or what have you," said D'allaird.

The two suspects in the case reportedly told police they ended up dragging their classmate into some nearby woods where they repeatedly stabbed her.

She remains in serious but stable but condition.

Waukesha Police say the internet has changed the way we live, and keeping children safe is more challenging than in past years.

They say this should really be a wakeup call for all parents.

Officers are strongly encouraging parents to restrict and monitor their children's internet usage.

Elsa Robins
erobins@kbjr.com