Two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls, accused of stabbing a middle-school friend 19 times in what authorities are calling a premeditated-murder plot, were charged as adults Monday.
Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, according to the Waukesha County district attorney's office.
The girls attended middle school with the victim, who was also a 12-year-old girl.
An account of events leading up to the stabbing was laid out in a statement released Monday by Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack.
The three girls had a sleepover at one of the suspects' homes. In the morning, police said, Geyser and Weier lured their friend to a local park, where one girl held her down while the other stabbed her repeatedly in her arm, legs and torso.
The girl was stabbed 19 times, according to authorities. She then was able to crawl away and was discovered by a passing bicyclist, police said.
She was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery for her injuries, which included injuries to major organs. She was in stable condition at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, police said.
Police allege that the Geyser and Weier had planned the attack for several months.
"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 in a statement.
According to the criminal complaint, Weier 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.
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.
Jack, the police chief, 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."
Geyser and Weier remain in jail on separate $500,000 cash bonds, according to the district attorney's staff.
Anthony Cotton, an attorney who is representing Geyser, 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.
Cotton said he planned to meet again with his client Tuesday and had nothing further to say at this time.
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9:13 p.m.: This post has been updated with details about the Slender Man, a fictional Internet character.