A daycare worker in Flushing, Queens, was arrested on Friday after allegedly stabbing three infants and two adults in the facility.
According to a statement released by the NYPD, the infants, ranging in age from 3 days to 1 month, were found with "sustained stab wounds." A female coworker of the suspect was also stabbed multiple times, and the father of one of the infants suffered a stab wound to the leg. The victims are all in serious but stable condition, and all are expected to survive. The attacks happened at 3:44 a.m. Friday.
The suspect, 52, reportedly slashed her left wrist and was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. She is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation.
In a press conference, Juanita Holmes, Assistant Chief Patrol Borough Queens North, said there were nine infants in the facility at the time of the attacks and that their family members also lived in the building in separate apartments.
The nature of the facility, known as Mei Xin Care, was not immediately clear. The New York Times reports that it was not a licensed daycare facility. In New York, most state-regulated childcare programs are prohibited from caring for children who are less than six weeks old. Other reports have referred to it as an "overnight nursery."
While some have suggested that the facility operates as a "birthing hotel" for Chinese visitors who want their children to be U.S. citizens, Flushing city council member Peter Koo explained to the New York Times that it is "Chinese tradition for women to rest and be cared for a month after they give birth. When family is not available, often in immigrant communities, businesses may fill the caretaker role."
The NYPD says it received a complaint in 2011 about the location. A caller to the 311 hotline reported "screaming children."
When asked to identify the exact nature of the business, an NYPD spokesperson only told Refinery29 that the "the investigation is ongoing."