In what police describe as an "extremely disturbing" case, two 12-year old Wisconsin girls have been accused of luring another girl into a wooded area, where one of them held her down while the other stabbed her 19 times, the Associated Press reports.
The victim, who is also 12, survived the attack and is hospitalized in stable condition, according to police.
The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon in Waukesha, in southeastern Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the suspects had been planning to kill the victim for several months, according to the criminal complaint, due to their interest in a website that posts short stories about horror and death.
The site, called "Creepypasta Wiki," includes a series of stories about a character called Slender Man, and the girls told police they needed to kill a person in order to show their dedication to Slender Man, according to the complaint.
They believed that Slender Man was a real person. After they killed the victim, they said they were planning to walk to Slender Man's mansion and become his followers, the Journal Sentinel reports.
The victim was stabbed in the torso, legs and arms. She crawled out from the woods to a road where a bicyclist found her and called for help. The suspects were arrested several hours later, and the knife the girls used was recovered, according to the Associated Press.
Police said the three girls all attended the same middle school.
"This is a very disturbing investigation," said Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack, the newspaper reported. "The Internet can be full of dark and wicked things. Unmonitored and unrestricted access to the Internet by children is a growing and alarming problem."
The two suspects appeared in court Monday afternoon, where bail was set at $500,000 for each of them. They're being held on charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Family members of one of the suspects broke into tears several times during her appearance, according to the Journal Sentinel. and their attorney said the family is "horrified" at what happened.
Waukesha County District Attorney General Brad Schimel said he charged the girls in adult court because of the seriousness of the allegations, although he said he expects their attorneys will try to move their cases to juvenile court, the Journal Sentinel reported.