Community mourns violent death of young girl

Community mourns violent death of young girl

Against the indisputably pristine backdrop of Lake Cushman, strangers saluted the victim of an indisputably ugly crime.

"This just seems impossible that this could have happened," said Annie Richardson.

None in attendance knew 5-year-old Clare Shelswell, but they were all haunted by the crime that took her life during a recent family vacation.

"It's touched so many lives - lives that you don't even realize, or they'll not realize will be affected forever," said Susan Hampton.

Investigators say Peter Wilson slit the throat of his stepdaughter with a kitchen knife on Sunday night.

Court documents allege Wilson and his wife argued about child discipline when he assured her he would "take care of it." Moments later, the girl's mother, Sarah Wilson, heard her daughter screaming. She found the child downstairs in a pool of blood.

"What could have prompted this man to do such a terrible act?" said one person present.

Prosecutors say Peter Wilson admitted to the crime, adding he is bipolar. On Monday he waived his right to a speedy trial, giving prosecutors until July 12 to file charges. He is being held on $3 million bail.

The girl's biological father, who may live in eastern Canada or in the U.K., has yet to be found. Some have speculated there may have been some dispute over fatherhood.

Those gathered on Wednesday prayed for the woman who lost her daughter at the hands of her husband, "that her heart can be put back together and can be healed," in the words of one person.

The victim's body is expected to be returned to her home in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where the congregation of the family's church is trying to raise funds to cover expenses.