A Florida middle-schooler is charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson after she attempted to burn her family’s home down while they were inside. Authorities are blaming the act partly on the teen’s obsession with Slender Man, a mythical Internet stranger who abducts and kills little children. Because of the teen’s age, Guardian Liberty Voice is not publishing her name.
Early on Thursday, after an argument about housework with her family, the teen, 14, soaked a bed sheet and a towel with rum and bleach and then lit them on fire in the garage of the family’s Port Richey house in which she lived with her mother and brother, 9. Both family members were asleep when the fire was lit. After a smoke detector sounded, the mother and brother were able to escape the burning Pasco County house, but the mother, noticing her daughter was not outside, went back inside to look for her.
A neighbor who was awake and noticed the fire told his wife to call 911 and then ran outside to alert other neighbors of the fire. The fire threatened to spread to an adjacent home, but the occupants safely escaped. By the time firefighters arrived at approximately 1:45 a.m., the teen’s garage was engulfed in fire and heavy smoke and flames were shooting from the roof of the home. Responders were told that the girl was missing, causing firemen to rush into the burning home multiple times in an attempt to find her. According to witnesses, the fire was put out quickly with the help of three responding fire stations and 17 firefighters and, although it had seared one side of the neighbor’s home, it did no further damage.
The girl was tracked down by fire investigators after several hours and was taken into police custody. The arrest report says that the girl texted her mother to apologize and to say, “I don’t know why I did it.” She also reportedly sent another text inquiring if anyone was hurt in the fire. The teen admitted to investigators that she had set the house on fire.
The Sheriff of Pasco County, Chris Nocco, said at a news conference that the girl had currently been reading a book online called Soul Eater. He described the book as “very disturbing” and said that it was “about killing people.” In addition, Sheriff Nocco said the teen had also been reading stories about Slender Man and had written in her journal about two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin who had stabbed their classmate multiple times earlier this year in an attempt to please the imaginary horror figure. She had also been on the website creepypasta.com, where people write about Slender Man.
According to Sheriff Nocco, the girl comes from “a good family” and shows know outward signs of being interested in dark fiction or gothic imagery. He also said that she had clearly carefully planned the act, as when she was discovered in the bathroom in a nearby park, she had with her a bag in which she had packed bottled water, clothes, cookies, flashlights, knives and lighters.
Prosecutors have yet to decide whether she will be charged as a juvenile or an adult. She is currently being held in juvenile detention. Her house was left unlivable by the fire.
By Jennifer Pfalz
Read more about the Wisconsin Slender Man case:
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