A teenage boy remains in custody after a 15-year-old girl was stabbed to death in Croydon, south London.
The 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder in New Addington, just over an hour after Elianne Andam was wounded in the neck at about 8.30am on Wednesday.
Her family visited the scene where she died in Wellesley Road on Thursday evening as crowds gathered outside the police cordon and prayers were said.
A large group of relatives could be seen next to a bus stop, inside the cordon, where Elianne died.
Some put their arms around each other as flowers were put on the ground.
The statement, which was read out while family members cried and consoled each other, said: “We as a family are struggling to comprehend this painful tragedy that has happened to our beautiful daughter and beloved sister Elianne. Our hearts are broken.
“And we are overwhelmed by sorrow and grief. Our faith in the Lord is strengthening us.
“We would like to express our gratitude to those who have taken the time to send us thoughtful and compassionate messages and prayers.
“We kindly ask for your consideration to also respect our need for privacy as we attempt to come to grips with our deeply devastating loss.
“Elianne was a beautiful person inside and out who loved Jesus. She was intelligent, thoughtful, kind and had a bright future ahead. It is our request that you keep our cherished daughter Elianne and our family, in your thoughts and prayers.”
She said she read messages in a book of condolence and they “talk about her laugh”.
She added: “Staff, teachers, talked about when she entered a room you knew she was there. And her friends, as you can imagine, were sobbing. They were so emotional.”
Dozens of bunches of flowers have been left at the scene after the teenager’s death.
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Woodsford, who is leading the investigation, said: “My thoughts and the thoughts of my team are with Elianne’s family.
She said officers are making “good progress” in their investigation and are confident the attack happened near the bus stop rather than on a bus.
The Prime Minister said he is shocked and appalled at Elianne’s death and said sentences for knife-related crimes should be toughened.
Rishi Sunak told BBC London’s political editor Tim Donovan: “Everyone will be looking at that and be shocked as I am, appalled by what’s happened and, quite frankly, angry. It just illustrates the importance of clamping down on knife crime.”
Witnesses told the PA news agency that Elianne and her alleged attacker were not in a relationship.