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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Mother Held Without Bond In Fatal Stabbing Of 5-Year-Old Serenity Arrington On West Side

Prosecutors say Serenity's older sister witnessed the attack and tried to save her by pulling at her mother's hair and calling for help.

A Chicago Fire Department ambulance.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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EAST GARFIELD PARK — A 27-year-old woman has been charged with fatally stabbing her 5-year-old daughter over the weekend, a crime witnessed by the girl’s 8-year-old sister, police and prosecutors said Monday.

Simone Austin is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Serenity Arrington, according to police. Cook County Judge Mary C. Marubio ordered Austin held without bond Monday.

The stabbing occurred Saturday morning in the 3200 block of West Fulton Boulevard at Austin’s father’s home, according to prosecutors. Austin and her daughters had moved into the East Garfield Park apartment earlier this month, prosecutors said.

Austin and the two girls were together in her room before she asked the older child to leave, prosecutors allege.

Once out of the room, the 8-year-old looked through the keyhole and saw Austin pull a serrated knife from underneath a pillow and attack Serenity, prosecutors said. She then opened the door and saw Austin stabbing Serenity, and heard Serenity apologizing to her mother and pleading for her to stop, prosecutors said.

The older child tried to save her sister, pulling at her mother’s hair before calling for help from her grandfather, prosecutors said.

The grandfather went outside to call 911 from his friend’s phone and urged neighbors to call for help, prosecutors said. Austin carried Serenity, unresponsive and bleeding, out of the apartment and laid her on the ground next to the sidewalk, prosecutors said. Witnesses said Austin began apologizing and saying she shouldn’t have hurt the child, prosecutors said.

Officers responded to the apartment around 9:18 a.m. Saturday and found paramedics treating Serenity, who had been stabbed multiple times, police said.

Serenity was taken to Stroger Hospital and pronounced dead, police said.

Prosecutors said Austin admitted to first responders that she attacked her daughter. She was then taken into custody.

The 8-year-old daughter recounted the horrifying details in a recorded interview, prosecutors said. She also told police her mother had frightened the girls in a previous incident, walking around with the knife because the children had dropped eggs on the porch.

Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said Monday detectives do not know what led to the stabbing. Austin didn’t make any statements to police after she was arrested, Deenihan said, and prosecutors offered no motive in court.

Officers have previously responded to the family’s home in East Garfield Park for calls of domestic violence, Supt. David Brown said Monday.

“We pray and grieve for this precious child,” Brown said. “The best way to reduce crime is to prevent it from happening in the first place. We must invest in our children and our families especially when they are in crisis.”

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