The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded to a report of a stabbing shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday at a Days Inn in the city’s Castleton neighborhood.
IMPD said they found a 1-year-old girl stabbed in the neck. A short time later, police found the suspect hiding near a bush outside the hotel.
Police arrested the girl’s 32-year-old aunt, Sharon Key, on allegations of criminal recklessness.
According to police reports, the suspect tearfully said the stabbing was an accident.
Police said Key told them the family went to Burger King to pick up food and then returned to the hotel.
Key claimed her pit bull ate her chicken sandwich, according to court records, so she got angry and chased the dog around the room with a knife.
When the dog jumped on the bed where the child was lying down, Key said she tried to stab the dog but missed and stabbed her niece by mistake.
After the stabbing, the child’s mother, who was also in the hotel room, quickly called 911.
“It’s stupid, and at the same time, she’s a grown-up,” said Tracy Griffin, the baby’s grandfather. “She should have known that baby was sitting right there. I want the book thrown at her.”
Griffin said his granddaughter is expected to survive her injuries. She was taken to Riley Children’s Hospital and received several stitches to her ear and neck.
“I want her to be accountable for this,” said Griffin. “My granddaughter will be scarred for the rest of her life.”
Jail records show Key has been in and out of jail more than 20 times over the last decade.
Court records show she pleaded guilty to stabbing a woman with a box cutter during a fight at a gas station in 2020. She was released from the Department of Correction in March for that crime.
Key’s family members said she has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues for years. They added that they wish the city would assist those in need instead of simply cycling them in and out of jail.
“This city needs to do better,” said Griffin. “All they’re doing is slapping her on the wrist.”
Formal charges are still pending, but criminal recklessness is a low-level felony that carries a punishment of six months to 2.5 years behind bars.