Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the case is taking place in juvenile court.
LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WXIN) — Two 12-year-old girls were arrested and one was charged in connection to an alleged violent assault on another girl in Logansport, Indiana, over the weekend. According to the Logansport Police Department, officers received a call from dispatch around 7:30 a.m. Saturday regarding a juvenile that had been “battered.”
“From the stuff that I’ve learned at this point during the investigation, it is very sensitive. It is what I would consider severe,” said Sgt. Dan Frye. “What the juveniles have been arrested for at this point are different charges related to battery, and anything that you could look at that goes along with that.” He added: “It’s very significant, very severe. It’s a little bit heart-wrenching to watch the videos and to hear what has been alleged at this point.”
Family members of the victim, also a 12-year-old girl, said she was invited to what she believed was a sleepover with friends Friday night. “Over the weekend, she was tortured, beaten, confined. Two juvenile females sat on top of her for two hours so she could not breathe, they burned her with cigarette lighters. It goes on and on,” said Renita Contreras, the victim’s aunt.
Family and friends also told NEWS10’s Indiana sister station that the victim suffered cuts to her face with a sharp object and had part of her hair shaved during the overnight stay. “They didn’t bully her. They tortured her,” said Jaimie Tribbett, the victim’s mother. “Mentally, physically tortured my daughter and it’s not right.”
Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations and the ages of those believed to be involved, police said they are not able to confirm specific details regarding what occurred. However, they did say the case goes beyond bullying. They said officers determined enough probable cause based on their preliminary investigation to arrest the two girls allegedly involved the day they were made aware of the incident.
“My heart goes out for the young lady. We apologize to that young lady for what she is dealing with at a young age,” said Frye. “Our investigation is ongoing. We have received emails as late as yesterday.”
Frye said he wants to make it clear that police are taking the allegations into what happened very seriously. “Those are not enjoyable calls for anyone in law enforcement and this one, in particular, goes to the extreme with the alleged suspects being juveniles as well,” he said. “More times than not we deal with adults victimizing juveniles and this one was a little bit different.”
According to those close to the victim and her family, the incident was allegedly recorded on video and shared. “My niece in the video, looked like she was laying there dead and it wasn’t an image our family needed to see or was ever ready to see,” said Contreras. “She’s a little girl. What these juvenile females did to her is unimaginable.”
The victim’s mother said her daughter is recovering from her physical injuries, but that she has a long road ahead in healing from this. “It hurts bad because now she has to for the rest of her life look over her shoulder or wonder if she can trust this person or that person. It’s absolutely horrible,” said Tribbett. “I hope that my daughter can get justice and that the other little girl, I hope that she stays in there for a long time and gets the help that she needs.”
“We are hoping and praying that it’s not let go. We need justice for my niece. She’s young, she’s not even a teenager yet, so this has really impacted our family. It’s impacted her,” said Contreras.
The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that one juvenile has been charged in the case in juvenile court and was ordered detained by a circuit court judge. She faced a judge for an initial hearing on Tuesday morning. The suspect is charged with the juvenile equivalents of criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury, intimidation with a deadly weapon, and battery resulting in serious bodily injury—all felony charges.
“Officers will continue to investigate the other incidents that are alleged and we’re going to continue to investigate this one in particular. There’s still information coming in, there’s things that we’re going to do in conjunction with the prosecutor’s office, for instance, search warrants and whatnot,” said Frye. “We’re going to continue to work on that case in particular, and also another one that we continue to get emails about and things that we were able to further investigate.”