Best friend shares hope for 8-year-old whose mother allegedly stabbed her

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — As the case of a mother accused of stabbing her two children — one fatally — unfolds in court, friends of the 8-year-old child who is currently recovering say their hopes remain high.

Sarah Ganoe faced a judge on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding, and aggravated child abuse and neglect Thursday in court.

The court appointed an attorney for her during the hearing. She will also have to undergo a competency evaluation.

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for August.

Investigators say Sarah Ganoe admitted to stabbing her 10-month-old son, Zell Howard, to death — as well as critically injuring her 8-year-old daughter, Winter Ganoe, last week at their home on Hilltop Drive in Newport News.

Winter is recovering at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk.

Winter’s best friend, Addison Billinger, hasn’t seen her since the crime, but has a message for her bestie.

“I want to tell her that how much I love her and how much I miss her,” Addison said.

Addison’s mother, Dara Kennison, told us she got an update on Winter’s condition Thursday from her grandmother.

“She’s great… there are no tubes, she just has an IV. She got up this morning and she wanted to eat waffles and pancakes,” Kennison said.

That sweet news is just what the mother and daughter needed after two weeks of sleepless nights.

Addison talked about how Sarah Ganoe’s face haunts her dreams. She said after she heard about what happened, she was distraught.

“I cried for almost a half an hour and I didn’t leave my mom’s side,” Addison said, adding that she feared she somehow would be injured, too.

Addison is seeing a counselor now and Kennison wants to shift the media focus away from Sarah Ganoe.

“She’s still gaining something from it if it’s all about her. It needs to be about Winter and that this child fought to survive,” Kennison said.

Kennison created a GoFundMe for Winter. Click here to visit the site.

“She’s never going to be the same child. None of us are ever going to be the same, but we can make sure that she and her family have whatever resources they need to make her as bright as she can possibly be again,” Kennison said.

The girls hope to reunite in two weeks. Until then, twin stuffed animal bears will keep them connected. Someone made the bears for the girls.

Kennison said Winter’s grandmother wanted to pass along her thanks and appreciation for all of the gifts, cards and compassion from the community, police, and hospital staff.

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