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‘I don’t know why I did it…I’m a good child’: 12-year-old girl who allegedly stabbed her 9-year-old brother to death cries, apologizes, questions her actions in bodycam footage

A 12-year-old girl who stabbed her 9-year-old brother to death

A 12-year-old girl who stabbed her 9-year-old brother to death has her picture taken at a jail in Tulsa, Okla., in January 2023. (Tulsa Police Department)

“I don’t know why I did it,” a 12-year-old Oklahoma girl tearfully told police in the back of a patrol car earlier this year – as her 9-year-old brother was dying from the stabbing she admittedly committed.

The fatal incident occurred at an apartment in Tulsa’s downtown St. Thomas Square neighborhood just before midnight on Jan. 5, the Tulsa Police Department said.

This week, Law&Crime obtained exclusive body-worn camera footage of the aftermath of the 9-year-old being stabbed and his 12-year-old sister’s detention by Tulsa police officers.

Content warning: The footage may be difficult for some viewers.

“Officers learned the children’s parent was upstairs asleep when the 12-year-old daughter woke the parent up and said that she had stabbed her 9-year-old brother,” police wrote on Jan. 6.

The footage begins with the 12-year-old girl, who is not being identified by her full name, coming down the stairs.

“I’m so sorry,” she shouts through tears. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Seconds later, April Lyda nearly bounds out the door, screaming and beside herself at what one child did to another.

“There’s stab wounds. In the chest,” Lyda tells her daughter, who repetitively apologizes. “You better pray to God he f–––––– lives.”

Zander Lyda was rushed to a hospital and placed into surgery but succumbed to his injuries around 2:30 a.m. the next day.

A GoFundMe for the horror-stricken family, started by a friend who considers April Lyda, her sister, offers testimony about both children.

“Her daughter was a well behaved child with no prior history of behavioral problems,” Jennifer Anthamatten wrote on the fundraiser. “Her son Zander was the sweetest boy who had the biggest smile, he loved to ride his bike, play Fortnite, hang out with his best friend or just run errands with his mom. He loved spending time with his dad & grandma, going on trips with his family, and his favorite places was sky zone, incredible pizza and the children’s museum. His favorite foods were cheese pizza, tacos and chocolate ice cream. He was a amazing son who would always do what he was told, without hesitation, he wanted to make his mom proud, he loved his sister and brother very much and he will be missed every second of every single day.”

As the footage continues, the 12-year-old girl, in handcuffs, eventually leads police to the knife used in the attack. She explains that she threw it out of her second-story window after she was done.

“You used a knife?” April Lyda asks, appearing again and raising her hands in desperation in the doorway, as her daughter explains.

“I’m so f–––––– sorry, momma,” the 12-year-old shouts in response. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what happened.”

“I’ve gotta go with him,” the boy’s mother cries.

“I’m so sorry,” the girl says again, raising her face to the officer who has her detained. “I don’t know what the f––– happened. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened.”

Asked if she has any cuts on her body, the girl replies that she does and removes her hoodie. An officer remarks that most of the cuts on her arms look old. He finds one cut, he says, that looks newer but notes that it is not bleeding before putting her hoodie back on.

In the patrol car, the girl repeatedly insists she’s going to jail and asks whether she is going to jail. An officer vacillates between consoling her by saying it’s too soon to tell and that she won’t go to jail.

“I ruined my life,” the girl says in the car. “I ruined my whole future.”

The officer tells her nothing is ruined.

“It’s all my fault,” she cries.

“It’s nobody’s fault,” the officer reassures her.

While sitting in the back of the patrol car, the 12-year-old relays a story about how her math teacher took a long absence to undergo cancer treatment and that when the teacher returned, it made her like math more. The officer in the front seat listens attentively.

“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m going to jail for the rest of my life,” the girl whispers, crying, in prayer at one point. “And, I’m so sorry, God, please help me. What the f–––. Please. F–––––– please.”

The footage is highly edited and skips around.

“I just want to wake up from this nightmare,” she says at one point.

Despite the officer’s efforts to allay her concerns, the girl sounds convinced she will go to jail.

“I already know I’m gonna go to jail for the rest of my life,” she says, still crying. The officer laughs off the sureness of her fear. The girl sobs for a few seconds and says: “What I did was super illegal.”

“Are the handcuffs necessary?” the girl asks at roughly the 12-minute mark in the footage while still in the patrol car. “I’m a good child.”

The officer explains the handcuffs are necessary due to departmental procedures because of the nature of the incident and especially because she is in the backseat of his car.

The 12-year-old’s handcuffs are removed, so she can use the restroom at roughly the 15-minute mark after the footage skips forward to before her formal intake occurs at the police station.

At no point does the girl explain why the stabbing occurred.

The video later shifts to the mother explaining that her daughter has never displayed aggressive tendencies. She says that the violence of the night was a complete aberration.

“I just don’t understand why she would have so much anger toward him,” April Lyda tells police. “Especially at bedtime.”

The footage ends with the separate intake officer who interviewed the mother relaying the realization.

“She was upstairs,” he tells another officer. “He was downstairs asleep. And she just heard screaming. Come down there, and she thought he was just having a nightmare. Until she saw the blood.”

The second officer replies: “You just wonder what’s going on in a 12-year-old’s mind.”

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