NEW ORLEANS - A man who stabbed and suffocated his 18-month-old toddler overnight told police this morning that "God made him do it."
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said 45-year-old Mark Hambrick dialed 911 around 7 a.m. on October 17 to inform police that he had stabbed his daughter and then suffocated her at some point Monday evening.
When asked if Hambrick had given a motive for his actions, Harrison said “simply put, he told us that God made him do it.”
Hambrick did tell police exactly what had happened and what they would find when they arrived.
“He laid out all the details, gave us a description of himself, a description of the baby, where the baby would be, where he would be, and when we arrived, it was like he said,” Harrison said. “He was on the porch. He was arrested and taken into custody without incident. We went into the house without incident, we didn’t have to make any dynamic entries, and there we encountered the baby.”
Officers tried to render aid, but it was too late, Harrison said.
"He told us that he had stabbed the child, and to put the child out of its misery, he suffocated the child until the child expired," Harrison said.
While Hambrick’s mental state has yet to be determined, Harrison said the man was behaving in a way that is “certainly not normal” after the brutal murder based on the way he calmly detailed the crime and told police where he would be when they arrived.
“We strongly suspect either mental illness or drug abuse or a combination of both,” Harrison said.
Hambrick has been charged with one count of second degree murder and second degree cruelty to a juvenile.
The mother of the child, who works out of town, has been notified and is on her way back to New Orleans.
A visibly emotional Harrison said grief councilors are on hand both for the victim's family and for the NOPD officers who responded to the scene.
This tragic case happening just days after Officer Marcus McNeil was shot and killed by a suspect Friday.
"It's been difficult days for NOPD but we are resilient, we have the best officers in America, we are strong. We can grieve and serve at the same time. We have done it before and we will certainly do it again," Harrison said.
"Violent crime and murders are abhorrent in any case, but anytime a child's life and potential is taken away from us by these senseless acts, especially in the cases of domestic and family violence, our hearts absolutely break," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement released this afternoon. “We all know too well the repercussions domestic violence continues to have on our communities and families. We must all do what we can to support anyone in this situation. We must do all we can to stop domestic violence from continuing to tear us apart. Let's pray for God's strength for this family during these incredibly difficult times."
The investigation into the child's murder is ongoing.
Child abuse Detective Nijel Baddoo is in charge of the investigation and can be contacted at (504) 658-5267.