A teenager is due to appear in court on Wednesday charged with murdering seven-year-old Katie Rough.
The girl was found seriously injured on a playing field in the Woodthorpe area of York - less than a mile from the family home - on Monday, reportedly suffering from stab wounds. She later died in hospital.
A 15-year-old girl has been charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon and is due to appear at York Magistrates’ Court.
Katie, who was described as a “kind and thoughtful child”, was found on a track after police were called to a nearby address.
Residents living in Alness Drive said Katie’s mother, named locally as Alison Rough, asked them to call an ambulance for Katie, saying “I think she’s killed her”.
Witnesses described how she fell to her knees in the street, crying and pleading for help.
Rob McCartney, 50, said he saw Katie lying in the field near the quiet cul-de-sac and her mother running up the street “shouting for help”.
“(The mother) was back and forth, obviously very, very distraught and who I think was the father turned up.
“I spoke to her later, asked if she was OK and she said ‘No, no, she’s my little girl’.”
Tracey Ralph, Katie’s headteacher at Westfield Primary School, said the death was a “terrible loss”.
“Katie was a kind and thoughtful child who was well liked by both pupils and staff.
“She was hard working and showed a particular talent for creative writing.
“Her death is a terrible loss which has deeply saddened our school community and we send our profound sympathies to her family.
“All members of our school are being offered emotional support at this distressing time.”
The area where Katie was found was cordoned off on Tuesday while forensic officers examined the scene and mourners laid flowers in the street.
One couple, believed to be the young girl’s grandparents, left a bouquet with a card, which read: “Night, night my darling princess Katie, love Nana and Grandad.”
Jon Stonehouse, director of children’s services at City of York Council, said the “tragic incident” had “shocked the city” and specialist support was being offered to the school and wider community.
Police have appealed for anyone who may have seen the two girls in the area of Morrell Court, Bellhouse Way, Osprey Close and Alness Drive between 3pm and 5pm on Monday to get in touch.
A force spokesman said the investigation into Katie’s death was ongoing, adding: “Katie’s family are devastated by this tragic event and have asked for their privacy to be respected at this extremely distressing time.”
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should call 101, select option one, speak to the Force Control Room and ask to be put through to the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team using the reference number 12170004685.