A 14-year-old Florida girl reportedly told police she was inspired by Atsushi Ōkubo’s manga Soul Eater and the Internet legend Slender Man to set her house on fire while her mother and brother slept. Both escaped unharmed.
WTSP Channel 10 reports that when firefighters arrived early Thursday to the burning house in Port Richey, they found the woman and 9-year-old, but the teenager was unaccounted for. As rescue workers searched for the girl, her mother allegedly began receiving text messages from her that read, “Mom Im so sorry I dont know why I did it” and “Did any of u get hurt.”
Police soon apprehended the teen, who allegedly said she had a fight with her mother the night before, and was influenced by reading Soul Eater, a supernatural action-adventure that centers on a young death god in training who, along with her classmates, must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch.
“There’s a part in this book where two characters get in a fight with each other,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco explained during a press conference. “All of a sudden that clicked something in her mind, and she decided she was going to kill her family.
Investigators say the girl also visited websites devoted to Slender Man, a meme originating in 2009 on SomethingAwful, and has been linked to a stabbing in May in Wisconsin. The Florida teen reportedly referenced the Wisconsin incident, which involved three 12-year-old girls, in her journal.
Nocco called for removing “all of these things” — referring to Soul Eater and the Slender Man websites — from the Internet. “I understand there’s a First Amendment, and we defend the Constitution, I believe in it,” he said. “However, when there’s times when they know they’re putting things up there and they’re target audience, you know — they’re absolutely manipulating their brain, causing them to do things such as, you know, kill people, harm them, this girl’s situation leads her to try to burn her family, kill her family, that causes great concern, not only from the sheriff’s office perspective, but I’m a dad …”
Prosecutors haven’t decided whether the teen will be charged as a minor or as an adult.
(via Anime News Network)
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