Dhaka, Bangladesh
Why we can't help being fascinated when young girls attempt murder

Why we can't help being fascinated when young girls attempt murder

(From previous issue) Knowing what we know about the adolescent brain, should Geyser and Weier be tried in adult or juvenile court? And if found guilty, what should their punishments be? In most criminal cases, certainly violent crimes, the public focuses on punishing the offender, Streib says, rather than prevention. Research suggests that children and adolescents have the potential to rejoin society as healthy, contributing adults. Mary Bell took a new name and started over after she was released from prison in 1980. Four years later, she had a daughter. The two of them were promised lifelong anonymity (what's now called a "Mary Bell Order") and vanished into the wider world. In 2009, Bell became a grandmother. Parker and Hulme, the childhood best friends in New Zealand who murdered Parker's mother, went on to live normal, productive lives after each served five years. Parker changed her name to Hilary Nathan. After earning her bachelor's degree in Auckland, she moved to Kent, where she ran a riding school, and later to Scotland's Orkney Islands. She is a devout Catholic and has largely stayed out of the public eye. Hulme changed her name to Anne Perry, landed in the Scottish Highlands, before becoming a Mormon and starting to write. More than 75 books later, she is a best-selling crime novelist with over 26 million books in print world-wide. All three women were free as adults - almost. Over the years, journalists hounded Mary Bell, who had to change her name and move multiple times. In 1998, when news broke that she had been paid to collaborate on Cries Unheard, a book about her life by Gitta Sereny, Bell's daughter learned the horrible truth about her mother. Nathan was outed in 1997 when the New Zealand Woman's Weekly revealed her identity and location. One might argue that Perry had the furthest to fall. For decades, no one knew that the best-selling writer was a child murderer until 1994, when a journalist uncovered her identity around the time Heavenly Creatures was released. "It seemed so unfair," she said in 2003. "Everything I had worked to achieve as a decent member of society was threatened." Apart from the near-certainty that they face a protracted legal ordeal, it's hard to predict what the future holds for Geyser and Weier, or whether they will ever emerge on the other side of this horror show to lead productive, meaningful lives. But in one manner or another, Slender Man will likely never be far from their thoughts.

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