Oklahoma police arrested a mother on Tuesday who allegedly set her home on fire, stabbed her 11-year-old daughter and fled the scene with her 7-year-old daughter in tow.
Police said they located 39-year-old Taheerah Ahmad in downtown Tulsa in her vehicle Tuesday after a witness noticed a car matching the given description. She was in a parking lot along with her 7-year-old daughter, Hafsa, for whom an amber alert had been issued. Police said the girl was safe and taken into police custody.
Authorities had been searching for the woman and child since Monday. Ahmad she allegedly abused her three daughters, stabbing her oldest child multiple times, before fleeing in a black Lexus SUV, police said.
Ahmad told officers on Tuesday that she became upset after she saw two of the children reading a book, according to police. They did not say what the girls may have been reading at the time.
She was taken into custody on charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, child abuse and first degree arson. It was not clear early Wednesday if she had retained an attorney.
Police said they arrived at Ahmad’s home Monday night to find the kitchen on fire and the 11-year-old in critical condition, suffering from multiple stab wounds.
One of Ahmad's other children, a 9-year-old who managed to escape to a relative's home, told police that her mother had "duct-taped their hands, put socks in their mouths" and began stabbing her older sister, police said.
The 9-year-old said she broke free to call for help, but her mother had already fled the scene with her younger sister by the time help arrived, according to police.
"The story that we received was that the 7-year-old helped the 9-year-old escape the residence," a police spokesperson told reporters Monday. "This is very fluid. It's moving very fast and we have a traumatized witness who has given us information."
The 11-year-old was taken to a local hospital and was listed in "very severe" condition, according to the spokesperson, who said the child "was stabbed so many times that the officers" couldn't count the number of wounds.
Police were unsure of where Ahmad was headed, but they noted that she had prevoiusly lived in Tennessee and Texas. The Tulsa Police Department posted a picture of the witnesses credited for locating the woman, thanking them for their assistance.
“Big thanks to Anastasia and Emily for seeing the suspect’s vehicle and calling 911,” the police department said in a tweet. "Emily, a mother herself, had been concerned about the child and noticed a car matching the description. After calling the police, we responded within minutes and found the suspect and victim."
A police spokesperson said Ahmad may be suffering from mental health and/or drug-related issues.