Takeira Hester Charged in Stabbings of Toddler and Woman in Philadelphia

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“This is quite an unusual case,” commented Philadelphia Police Capt. Frank Banford regarding the stabbings.

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A woman has been detained following the stabbing incidents involving a 1-year-old boy and a 24-year-old woman in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 13, as stated in a press release from the Philadelphia Police Department provided to PEOPLE.

Takeira Hester faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and “related offenses,” according to the PPD press release. Her arrest followed the discovery of a backpack she allegedly left behind at the crime scene, which contained items that led authorities to her.

Formal charges were placed against Hester on Sunday, April 14, a spokesperson for the district attorney informed NBC News.

The 28-year-old is accused of launching attacks on both the young woman and the toddler in two separate incidents on April 13. The toddler’s twin, who was in the same stroller during the attack, was targeted but escaped harm, NBC News reports.

The initial attack occurred around 8:30 a.m. on the 1300 block of Chancellor Street, where the woman was stabbed in her chest and left hand. Police Capt. Frank Banford noted in a Sunday press conference that Hester allegedly used what seemed to be a long kitchen knife, though the weapon has not yet been recovered.

Then, four hours later, just after noon, Hester is alleged to have stabbed the one-year-old boy on the 300 block of South 18th Street near the Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (BZBI) synagogue. The toddler was in a double stroller with his twin as their parents strolled along 18th Street. “It appeared this female suddenly approached them, without saying anything, completely out of the blue, attempted to stab both children but only managed to wound one,” Banford explained. The boy suffered a stab wound to his left forearm, according to the PPD press release.

The child’s father pursued Hester as she fled the scene; during her escape, she dropped her black backpack, which was mentioned by Banford during the press briefing.

He pointed out that the contents of the bag helped police track down the suspect, including a coat believed to be worn by her during the first attack.

Both victims were rushed to local hospitals; the woman to Jefferson University Hospital and the toddler to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, both reported in stable condition.

Hester was apprehended around 7:20 p.m. that same Saturday evening. “It’s a completely random act,” Capt. Banford remarked about Hester’s alleged actions. “I’m unsure about the mental state of this individual, we’re trying to determine this. Whether the suspect has a prior history, I cannot confirm at this moment. We’re still looking into it.”

“This case is quite peculiar,” Banford added. “For someone to attack randomly like this is something we see occasionally, but always be vigilant and stay alert. This isn’t something that happens every day.”

The Philadelphia Police Department has confirmed that an investigation is ongoing.

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