(CNN) — Two schoolchildren have been charged with murder following the death of a 16-year-old transgender girl in an English village.
A boy and a girl, both aged 15, have been charged with the murder of Brianna Ghey, who was found dead in a park in Warrington in the country's northwest on Saturday afternoon. The two teenagers cannot be named for legal reasons.
Members of the public contacted the emergency services at 3.13 p.m. that day after Ghey's body was found on a path in Linear Park, in the village of Culcheth, police said. She was found with fatal stab wounds, police told CNN.
Police initially said there was no evidence to suggest the circumstances surrounding Ghey's death was hate related, before later adding that all lines of inquiry were being explored, "including whether this was a hate crime."
After news of Ghey's death broke, her family issued a heartfelt statement through Cheshire Constabulary, the police force investigating the crime.
They said: "Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister. She was a larger than life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty, and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless, and one of a kind.
"The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.
"We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this extremely difficult time. We would like to thank the police for their support, and witnesses for helping with the investigation. The continuation of respect for privacy is greatly appreciated."
Almost £90,000 ($109,000) has been raised so far for Ghey's family by an online crowdfunding campaign. Those behind it say the funds raised will help pay for a funeral, which they hope to make "pink and colourful to match her personality."
The charges come a day after candlelit vigils were held for Ghey in the cities of Liverpool and Bristol, PA Media reports, with more due to be held across the country in the coming days — including many planned for Wednesday.
Some of the events have been organized by trans rights and LGBTQ+ campaigners, including ones planned for London, Manchester and the coastal city of Brighton on Wednesday.
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