Police: Man stabbed baby in heart, held her for hours before suffocating her

Mark Hambrick
Caption
Mark Hambrick

Credit: Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office

Credit: Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office

A New Orleans man who told police he killed his 18-month-old daughter because "God told him to do it" stabbed the girl multiple times in the heart then held her as she cried for hours before suffocating her, authorities said.

Mark Hambrick, 45, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, Orleans Parish jail records show. He is being held without bond.

NOLA.com reported that Hambrick, who called 911 early Tuesday morning to report that he'd killed his daughter, told investigators that he stabbed the girl four times in the heart with a serrated kitchen knife.

He waited for her to "bleed out," holding the crying baby in his arms for nearly five hours, court documents said. Finally, he suffocated her.

New Orleans police Superintendent Michael Harrison said during a Tuesday news conference that Hambrick told 911 dispatchers he suffocated the girl to “put the child out of its misery.”

A warrant for Hambrick stated that he told police "God told him to" kill his daughter so "the State of Louisiana can kill him so he can be resurrected," NOLA.com reported.

The Advocate in Baton Rouge reported that Hambrick's daughter, who police have not named publicly, was identified on social media as Amina.

Hambrick’s wife, Amina’s mother, was working in Baton Rouge at the time of the slaying. Monika Gerhart-Hambrick is on the staff of Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

Broome said in a statement Tuesday that she stood behind Gerhart-Hambrick during this “unimaginable” situation.

"This is a horrible tragedy," Broome said, according to NOLA.com. "No parent should ever have to lose a child, especially in such a violent way. We are here for Monika and her family for whatever they need."

Neighbors in Hambrick's Bywater neighborhood were stunned by Tuesday's slaying, and by the allegations against Hambrick, who worked as an internal audit analyst at the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. One neighbor described the family to NOLA.com as "sweet people."

Other neighbors said that the baby had recently learned to walk and was talkative, often heard babbling as her parents took her for walks in her stroller. Hambrick's own Facebook page has a number of photos that appear to show a happy family.

Hambrick seemed like a normal dad, neighbors told New Orleans' WVUE television station.

"They interacted with each other well," one neighbor said. "There was no body language that would indicate that something like this would happen."

Harrison said Tuesday that investigators were looking into Hambrick's background to determine if mental illness or drugs or alcohol played a part in the homicide. Despite his explanation of why he killed his daughter, Hambrick told detectives that he knew what he did was wrong, according to NOLA.com.

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Hambrick called 911 around 7 a.m. Tuesday and told dispatchers what he had done. Harrison said in a news conference, recorded and shared by NOLA.com, that Hambrirck gave dispatchers a description of himself and of his daughter, and told them where he and the child would be when officers arrived.

Officers who responded to the scene found Hambrick sitting on his porch, as he said he’d be. They handcuffed Hambrick and went into the house, where they found the child lying dead on a bed. She had multiple stab wounds.

Harrison said an autopsy will determine if the baby was also suffocated. The knife used in the slaying was found near the girl’s body.

Dispatchers who questioned Hambrick asked why he killed the baby, Harrison said.

“He gave us some details, but simply put, he told us over the phone that God made him do it,” the police superintendent said Tuesday.

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