Infant dies, second young child hospitalized with stab wounds in Newport News; Mother charged with second degree murder

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Posted at 11:56 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 21:16:23-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Newport News Police are investigating a homicide that took place Monday evening that left a baby dead and a young child seriously injured.

On May 10 around 9:30 p.m., police responded to the 300 block of Hilltop Drive for reports of a woman in distress.

When police arrived, they found two young children, a 10-month-old boy and an 8-year-old girl, both suffering from multiple stab wounds.

Officers immediately began providing first aid to the children, but officials say the baby, Zell Howard, died at the scene.

The 8-year-old girl was taken to CHKD and is in critical condition, but is stable at this time.

The mother of the children, 35-year-old Sarah Whitney Ganoe, has been charged with one count each of second-degree murder and malicious wounding and two counts of felony child neglect.

The investigation remains ongoing.

“Any loss of life is difficult, but it’s especially challenging when it involves innocent children,” Chief of Police Steve Drew said. “I cannot be more impressed with the professionalism and compassion demonstrated by Newport News police personnel, starting with the dispatchers who took the call to the officers, detectives and forensic technicians who handled and processed a horrific crime scene."

Chief Drew held a press briefing on Tuesday to provide updates on the investigation.

He said there were calls made in the past to the home in regards to domestic disturbances between the mother and her fiancé. Chief Drew said during the briefing, the fiancé received a text message from the mother that warned him of the scene he would be walking into.

Officials say that text prompted the fiancé to call the police. Chief Drew could not go into further details regarding the investigation and says details will be released at a later time.

Ganoe is currently being held in Newport News City Jail.

To view the mother's arrest warrant, click here.

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