Cops: Teen Reads of 'Slender Man,' Tries to Kill Family

Lily Hartwell, 14, charged with attempted murder of mom, brother
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2014 12:35 PM CDT
Cops: Teen Reads of 'Slender Man,' Tries to Kill Family
A drawing of "Slender Man."   (Wikimedia Commons)

A 14-year-old Florida girl admitted to setting her family's house on fire early yesterday after a "Slender Man" website got her riled up, police say. Lily Hartwell allegedly told police she was reading websites about the mythical online character that "made her upset about past bullying and her mother disciplining her prior to bedtime," WTSP reports. She then doused a sheet and towel with rum and bleach and set them alight in her family's garage as her mom and brother slept inside the Port Richey home, police say. Her mother got the 9-year-old boy out but went back inside when she couldn't find her daughter. The Tampa Bay Times reports her mom eventually escaped and rescue crews searched the home three more times before Hartwell was found "several hours later at an undisclosed location, unharmed," police say.

At some point, Hartwell allegedly texted her mom, "Mom Im so sorry I dont know why I did it" and "Did any of u get hurt." The teen told police she packed a bag of clothes, cookies, water, knives, lighters, and flashlights and went to sleep in a park bathroom. A journal found in the bag included an entry that read, "if this keeps up there will be no one safe in this house," authorities say. Hartwell now faces charges of attempted murder and arson, reports the Suncoast News, and the State Attorneys Office could decide to charge her as an adult. Though a sheriff says the "Slender Man" site may not have provoked the girl's actions, he warned parents should be aware of the site's contents. A brutal stabbing has also been linked to the dark character. (More Florida stories.)

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