Two children suspected of killing 12-year-old girl in Germany

KOBLENZ, Germany (Reuters) - Two girls are suspected of killing a 12-year-old schoolgirl who was found dead in a woodland area in western Germany at the weekend, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

In a case that has shocked Germany, police found the body of a girl, named only as Luise, near a cycle path in woodland on Sunday. Her parents had raised the alarm the previous day after she had visited a friend.

Investigations found that Luise had died as a result of knife wounds, prosecutor Mario Mannweiler told reporters, adding that no weapon had yet been found.

"We believe that this crime was committed by two children," said Mannweiler. Because they are 12 and 13-years old, they are not subject to criminal law which in Germany only takes effect for minors from the age of 14. They are in the hands of the youth office.

There was no evidence that anyone else was involved or that there had been a sexual assault, said Mannweiler, declining to give further details.

Local media reported that the children are girls and the prosecutor later referred to the suspects as girls.

Residents of the small town of Freudenberg, around 80 kilometres east of Cologne, were in shock and flags were at half mast.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers, additional reporting by Reuters Television, Editing by Rachel More and Ed Osmond)