Simone Austin, 27, has been charged without bail after brutally murdering her 5-year-old daughter, Serenity Arrington.
Allegedly, Austin slit the girl’s throat in front of her 8-year-old sister using a serrated knife. At Austin’s bond hearing, Austin requested her older daughter leave the room.
But the 8-year-old did not stray far. The girl allegedly watched the incident through a keyhole as Austin pulled a knife from its hiding place and stabbed Serenity. The older girl screamed, stormed the bedroom, and attempted to stop her mother by pulling her hair.
And while they lived in an apartment with Austin’s father, at the time, he had gone out to get a cup of coffee.
It was only when he came home and found the front door was locked that something was wrong.
When he managed to get inside the house through the kitchen door in the back, his granddaughter told him that “her mommy killed her little sister,” prosecutors recounted at Austin’s bond hearing.
The grandfather saw Austin undressing and went outside onto the porch. In the interim, his older granddaughter reportedly fled their apartment while shouting that her mother had killed her sister.
Austin then followed her older daughter out of their home, carrying the naked, bloodied body of Serenity in her arms.
The mom laid her daughter’s body on the grass, with neighbors stating they saw Serenity profusely bleeding from the gash on her throat and heard Austin apologizing, saying “she shouldn’t have done this.”
The grandfather quickly called police while Austin waited on the ground with Serenity until firefighters arrived. Around 9:30 a.m. police arrested Austin outside the apartment. Police said that she told at least one emergency worker who was treating Serenity that she “did it” and “was sorry.”
Paramedics took Serenity to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where she was declared dead from multiple stab wounds. Prosecutors revealed how one of the wounds went almost completely through to the back of the girl’s neck.
While no motive has been discovered yet, Austin’s older daughter informed police she was worried something like this would happen.
The girl recalled how her mother recently paced around their apartment with a knife in her hand after the girls spilled their eggs.
Austin was arrested and has been charged with first-degree murder.
Judge Mary C. Marubio denied Austin bail despite Austin’s lawyer asking for a reasonable bond, given her lack of criminal record. Marubio denied the request, citing the brutality of the attack as well as the trauma it brought to Austin’s family. Her next hearing is set for October 19.
Police are additionally looking into if Austin has a history of mental illness. The mother had been working at Walmart stocking shelves around May but there had been zero indication she had abused her children in the past.
According to neighbors, they reported when they saw Serenity, she was happy and friendly. They cannot believe she is gone.
“It’s just sad, just out of nowhere,” neighbor Jose Maljar said. “I seen her just yesterday and today in the morning she’s gone. It’s just sad.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.