I've been following the unfortunate 新潟 railway child murder case on the news recently. I noticed that in the beginning, the news referred to the victim as さん, but later switched their usage to ちゃん―which is the title I would usually expect to see attached to a child. This is unlikely an occasional mistake in that さん occurred several times on different articles related to this case.
When I first saw them use さん on the news, I found it rather odd. However, I figured they probably wanted to show respect to the poor victim. If that was the case, the fact that they switched back to ちゃん struck me as somewhat strange, yet fascinating culture-wise nonetheless.
Is this phenomenon a common practice in Japan, or merely a matter of personal style? (Since it occurred on Japanese news, I doubt the latter would be the case though.)