Three hours before Danielle Slaughter’s 6-year-old daughter was found stabbed to death with scissors, the 27-year-old mother was running through northwest valley streets naked and bloodied.
About 6 p.m. Sunday, Las Vegas police detained a frenzied Slaughter at Vegas Drive and Jones Boulevard, less than two miles from her home. She was taken to Valley Hospital Medical Center for evaluation.
Later, when police were dispatched to Slaughter’s residence on the 1600 block of Palmae Way, Slaughter’s daughter, Kyla Franks, was discovered dead in the master bedroom.
Police say she died at the hands of her mother, who had repeatedly stabbed her.
Detectives on Monday were still trying to piece together why Slaughter killed her only child, Homicide Lt. Ray Steiber said at an afternoon news conference.
“We know that the mother had some sort of mental breakdown,” Steiber said.
Steiber said police can make a strong case that the mother was behind the gruesome slaying of the girl.
“We’re confident that we do have the right person,” he said, noting that child homicides are particularly difficult for both detectives and the public to handle.
Slaughter was booked into the Clark County Detention Center without bail on the recommended charge of murder with a deadly weapon Monday.
The Clark County coroner’s office had not determined Kyla’s official cause of death Monday afternoon but did release her identity.
Steiber said that five people lived at the home on Palmae including Slaughter and her daughter. Police determined that only Slaughter and her daughter were home during the violent episode, which occurred between 4:30 and 6 p.m.
Steiber said the man who owns the home called 911 about the dead girl.
Steiber said police have not uncovered any turmoil preceding the girl’s death at the home of the “blended family.”
“There were no apparent issues that were going on,” Steiber said. “Everybody appeared to be happy and jovial.”
Steiber said Slaughter did not have a criminal record. There also was no record of involvement with the county’s Department of Family Services.
Christine Skorupski, a spokeswoman for the Department of Family Services, confirmed that Slaughter had no prior history with the agency, which has begun its own investigation into Kyla’s death.
Steiber said police have no idea why Slaughter was running through the streets naked and possibly spattered in her daughter’s blood.
“There is no reason why she was there,” Steiber said. “She somehow, some way, just ended up there.”
Steiber added that police do not think Slaughter was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when she was detained before being hospitalized.
Kyla was a kindergartner at Bell Elementary School, a Clark County School District spokeswoman said.
Slaughter was in her first semester at the College of Southern Nevada, where she was pursuing an associate degree, according to college spokeswoman K.C. Brekken.
People in Slaughter’s neighborhood Monday afternoon said they never saw any trouble at the home where the girl died.
People at the home, including one person wheeling a carpet cleaner, declined to comment Monday afternoon.
Neighbors said the girl and her mother moved into the single-story corner home with the owner and his children less than a year ago. The owner, who has lived in the house for more than a decade, had a relationship with the mother, they said.
Kyla was rarely seen but was described as a quiet, well-behaved girl, neighbor Margaret Holder said.
“She seemed like a good little girl, a sweet little girl,” she said.
The owner of the home, Ashton Lyken, was described as a nice man with a large, church-going family.
“He’s a blessed man. He’s a very pleasant man,” Louisa Slaby said.
Slaby heard a girl crying Sunday night and looked out her balcony window to see a girl in her early teens leaning up against Lyken’s garage, bawling.
The girl lived with Kyla. She was surrounded by police cars and officers.
“We’re just stunned by the situation because it’s a little baby girl,” Slaby said. “It’s just a tragedy, what happened.”
Review-Journal reporter Lawrence Mower contributed to this report. Contact reporter Antonio Planas at email@example.com or 702-383-4638.