Two girls aged 12 and 13 have confessed to stabbing and killing another 12-year-old girl in the western German town of Freudenberg, a crime which a senior investigator said left him “speechless”.
The suspects and the victim knew each other, police and the prosecutor’s office in the nearby city of Koblenz announced on Tuesday.
They did not provide any information on the motive because the children are below the age of criminal responsibility.
The victim – publicly identified only by the name Luise – had been stabbed several times, and subsequently bled to death.
The missing 12-year-old was found dead near a cycle path on Sunday. Authorities announced on Monday that the child had been the victim of a crime.
The student was last seen alive in Freudenberg at around 5.30pm on Saturday, as she was on her way home from visiting a friend. A search operation was launched involving police and fire personnel locator dogs and a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera.
“We do not currently have the murder weapon,” said the head of the Koblenz public prosecutor’s office, Mario Mannweiler. Police officers again searched the area around the crime scene on Tuesday.
The girls suspected of the crime had been targeted by the investigators because their statements during an initial interrogation contradicted the statements of other witnesses. On Monday, during a second interview in the presence of their guardians and psychologists, they confronted the contradictions and finally confessed to the crime.
“After more than 40 years of service, there are still events that leave you speechless,” said Koblenz Police Vice President Jürgen Süs.
Since the alleged perpetrators are still children, this means “that no criminal sanction can take place because the law forbids it,” said Mannweiler. The 12- and 13-year-old girls were “in a protected space managed by the youth welfare office”.