Two schoolgirls aged 12 and 13 have confessed to stabbing a 12-year-old classmate to death in Germany, police said on Tuesday, in a case that has shocked the country.

The victim, known only as Luise under Germany’s strict privacy laws, went missing on Saturday afternoon after leaving a friend’s house near the town of Freudenberg, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Luise’s body was found the following day in a wooded area not far from her home after a massive police search swept the area.

Police later said the girl was stabbed more than 30 times with a small knife.

‘The child died as a result of numerous knife wounds and the resulting loss of blood,’ Koblenz prosecutor Mario Mannweiler told a press conference, adding that there was ‘no indication of a sexual offence’.

The two girls ‘made statements about the matter and in the end admitted the crime,’ said Florian Locker, head of Koblenz police’s homicide department.

The girls and Luise knew each other, Mannweiler said.

He declined to give further details because the suspects are too young to be held criminally responsible for their actions in Germany.

In Germany, the age of criminal responsibility starts at 14.

Investigators have yet to locate the knife or knives used in the crime.

Luise’s parents reported her missing on Saturday after she failed to return from visiting the 13-year-old suspect at her home two miles away, The Times reported.

The 12-year-old suspect joined the two of them and the girls were spotted by neighbours walking into the woods nearby.

The 13-year-old had forced the younger suspect to assist her, according to reports.

Police said that under questioning, the two girls started to make contradictory statements and both confessed on Monday.

According to media reports, Luise had been friends with her killers but had fallen out with them.

The two girls attended the same school as Luise, according to reports, and the older girl is said to have been in the same class.

The parents of the suspects have moved away for the moment but are still in contact with their daughters.

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