Amina

Amina, an 18-month-old who was killed in the Bywater earlier this month (image provided by family). 

A funeral service Friday morning celebrated the 18-month life of Amina Gerhart-Hambrick, who was killed 10 days ago by her father at their home in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans.

Afterward, Amina’s mother, Monika Gerhart-Hambrick, issued her first public statement about the death.

“Amina was our entire world, and being her mother was the greatest joy of my life," she said. "She will never be replaced. Today our friends and family came together to celebrate her life.”

During the service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Monika Gerhart-Hambrick and her circle of family and friends grieved for the happy toddler who liked to sneak food to the family dog, Uschi, from her high chair.

They recalled how she loved reading picture books with her parents and how she was learning and growing by leaps and bounds.

“My family and I are grateful for the support of our community, which is helping us through this nightmare that seemingly came out of nowhere,” Gerhart-Hambrick said in her statement.

People close to the mother said that nothing makes sense about what happened on Oct. 17.

That morning, Gerhart-Hambrick was in Baton Rouge, where she heads the city's Office of Community Development. Around 7 a.m., her husband, Mark Selassie Hambrick, 45, called police from their home to report that he had fatally stabbed Amina.

Hambrick waited for officers to arrive and gave them an account of events that seemed to indicate he had suffered some sort of psychotic breakdown.

According to an arrest warrant, Hambrick said “God told him to murder his child so the state of Louisiana can kill him so he can be resurrected." 

He was booked on a count of second-degree murder and is being held in the mental health unit at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel.

Gerhart-Hambrick had no comment about the case other than to ask for “privacy and decency” from media outlets.