Mother accused of stabbing daughter more than 50 times and fatally stabbing 10-month-old son
Newport News, Virginia: Monday, May 10 at around 9:30 officers with the Newport News Police Department and emergency medical responders answered an emergency call placed by John Howard. He told the dispatcher that he had been at work when his fiancée, 35-year-old Sarah Whitney Ganoe had sent him a text saying, "not to be sad, but the house would be bloody when he got home."
Howard arrived shortly before the paramedics and entered the apartment. He found blood throughout, and eventually located Ganoe, his 10-month-old son Zell Howard, and his 8-year-old step-daughter on the bed in the master bedroom, all suffering from apparent stab wounds.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew stated that the scene responding officers saw was "horrific" and "The thing they saw, they'll remember for the rest of their careers." He stated that he will be mandating that approximately a dozen officers speak with the department psychologist "because of what they saw."
Paramedics attempted life-saving measures on Zell, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 8-year-old girl was transported to Children's Hospital of The Kingdom's Daughters where she underwent surgery for treatment of at least 50 stab wounds she had sustained. Her condition has been reported as critical but stable.
Her father lives out of state but officers have been in contact with him.
Ganoe was also found to have sustained some "superficial stab wounds" and was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center for treatment, but not before she was arrested. She was treated for her injuries and released.
At the Newport News Police Headquarters, Post Miranda, Ganoe "admitted to stabbing her two children ... multiple times with a knife. She had bruising to her right hand and arm that she stated was caused by "hammering" the knife during the stabbing," according to the complaint affidavit. "Ganoe also had one bite mark on her right forearm that she stated was from [the 8-year-old girl] biting her in an attempt to get free."
Investigators recovered a 2-3 inch pocket knife from the scene.
Ganoe appeared in court Tuesday and was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of stabbing in commission of a felony and two counts of felony child neglect. She is being held in the Newport News City Jail without bond.
Chief Drew stated that officers had been called to the residence a number of times already this year on "domestic disturbance-type" calls requesting assistance. He would not specify further stating concerns for the integrity of the investigation.
When asked about whether or not Ganoe had a previous record, Chief Drew stated that more information will be released when the time is right. He is working with the prosecution and wants to ensure that they sign off on information released.
Of note is that one of the local reporters inquired about the possibility of "ritualistic" activity in Ganoe's history and then specified that he was talking about "witchcraft." Chief Drew indicated that he was "tracking" with the question and indicated that it would be a line of inquiry that would be looked into further.
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