A nine-year-old girl who was stabbed to death last night has been named by police.
Officers have launched a murder investigation after the child, named as Lilia Valutyte, was killed yesterday evening in Boston, Lincolnshire.
East Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Kate Anderson, said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Lilia’s family and friends.
“If any members of the public have information that might assist, please call 101 quoting incident 419 of 28th July, or they can report anonymously via Crimestoppers.”
Lilia’s parents have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.
She added anyone looking to leave tributes or flowers at the scene should do so at the corner of Fountain Lane and Fountain Place.
Ch Supt Anderson earlier confirmed to the press this morning two people have been arrested.
However, Lincolnshire Police have so far refused to release the ages or any other details relating to the suspects.
A spokesperson for the force added: “We can now confirm the identity of the nine-year-old girl who sadly died in Boston yesterday as Lilia Valutyte.
“She died on Fountain Lane, as a result of what we believe to be a stab wound.”
They added: “We do not have a photograph of Lilia available at this time.”
Witnesses reported seeing arrests being made close to the scene before being released – though it is unclear if this was related.
It comes just days after the Mirror revealed children can buy cheap killer knives in high street stores with shocking ease for the same price as a can of soft drink.
Officers had swarmed to Fountain Lane around 6.20pm on Thursday and cordoned off an area outside the historic St Botolph’s Church.
Ch Supt Anderson described the death as an “isolated incident” and an “utter tragedy”.
She said: “We are pursuing extensive lines of inquiry and have committed a number of resources to this investigation.
“You will see more officers patrolling the area, and we have a high number of specialist detectives who have been brought in to assist the investigation.”
She declined to comment on whether those arrested were adults or juveniles, and would not confirm what offence they were detained on suspicion of.
“We have a number of active lines of inquiry,” she reiterated.
“It would be unfair for me to speculate on potential motives.”
The church – known locally as Boston Stump – was set to open at 10am for prayers and invited people to light candles to remember the girl.
Local MP Matt Warman called the incident “profoundly shocking” and said he has spoken to Policing Minister Tom Pursglove to ensure national assistance would be available for the ongoing probe.
Taxi driver Jonathan Newton, 55, said: “We are a close knit community here and the town is rocked to the core by this tragedy.
“She was just a little girl, how could anyone do this to a nine-year-old? It’s the most shocking tragedy to ever befall our little town.
“I’m just speechless.”
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, added: “My heart is breaking for that girl’s parents.
“I’ve seen people who don’t even know the family in floods of tears today.”
Boston Borough Council leader Paul Skinner earlier said the council is “devastated to learn of this very sad and tragic incident”.
He added: “The town is united in mourning following the very sad and tragic death of a nine-year-old girl in Boston.
“We can’t for one second imagine the pain the family and the young girl’s friends are going through and our heartfelt condolences go out to them.”
He added the council will fly a flag from the Municipal Buildings at half-mast.
Photos from the scene in Boston showed two sullen forensic officers in white suits leaving in the early hours of this morning.
Today officers in hi-vis jackets have snapped on patrol.
Flowers and other tributes have been left at the scene.
Residents said they heard a helicopter flying overhead last night.
If you have any information, you can contact police by calling 101 and quoting incident number 419 of 28 July.