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Oakland neighbors shocked by stabbing death of 10-year-old girl

A 10-year-old was allegedly stabbed to death by her mother in an apartment building at 4555 Bancroft Ave. in Oakland. | Google Street View

Neighbors of a 10-year-old Oakland girl allegedly stabbed to death by her mother said they were shocked by the killing and never saw any signs of trouble.

“For me, it’s unreal,” said Marisol Barreto Cantu, who lives in the apartment below where the incident occurred. “I can’t believe it. She was a good mom.”

Police officers responded to a report of a possible shooting or stabbing at 4555 Bancroft Ave. in East Oakland before noon on Monday, where they found a bloody knife outside the apartment building.

After forcing their way into a second-floor apartment, officers found the 10-year-old girl with severe stab wounds to her neck and the girl’s mother harming herself with a knife, interim chief of police Darren Allison said at a press conference on Monday. 

The girl was pronounced dead at the scene. The Oakland Police Department declined to name the victim or the suspect. 

Police later identified the suspect as the girl’s mother but continued to decline to name her and her daughter. The mother is receiving medical care at a local hospital and has not been booked. The Oakland Police Department said the investigation is ongoing.

Neighbors at the intersection of Bancroft and 46th avenues, an area of two-story apartments and houses, were equally at a loss to explain the crime.

Barreto Cantu said the mother and daughter, whom she declined to name, were always together and had a great relationship.

“I don’t understand why this happened,” she said. “Her daughter was her world.”

Barreto Cantu said she never saw any signs that anything was wrong with the family, unable to recall police or social services ever being called to the family’s apartment, and had not noticed anything amiss on the morning of the killing.

But neighbor Emma Sarabia said she quickly realized something was wrong that morning. She had heard screaming and yelling coming from the apartment and then a “small little yell.”

Then, there was a minute or two of silence before the mother started screaming, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” Sarabia said through her daughter Jackie, who translated from Spanish.

The Sarabias said there were no indications of problems with the family and described them as calm neighbors who enjoyed walking their dogs in the neighborhood.

Emma Sarabia said she had heard the mother arguing with someone a few days before the incident, but made little of it at the time.

Jackie Sarabia said she returned from work to find the street closed off by law enforcement. When she got home, she asked her mother and father what had happened.

“My stomach just dropped,” she said. “Poor, innocent little girl.”

Jonah Owen Lamb contributed additional reporting for this story.