Norwalk resident Katia Castile said Monday the support her family has received since the loss of her granddaughter has been overwhelming.
The granddaughter, Athena Castile, an 11-week-old baby from Norwalk, died Friday morning after allegedly being stabbed by her second cousin at a Sandusky residence, police said.
Charged with aggravated murder is Denzel Castile, 19, of Sandusky. He is currently in custody at the Erie County Jail.
Castile entered “not guilty” pleas to charges of aggravated murder, felonious assault and assault on a peace officer Monday in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Bond was set at $1,025,000 Monday morning.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 29, also in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Katia Castile said it's taking all the family's strength to keep holding on.
"Holding it together -- I don't think we are," she said. "We're taking this day by day. I don't know if we're holding this together.
"This is devastating," she added. "It's absolutely unthinkable. We need to let go and let God...there are so many unanswered questions."
Katia Castile said Monday the baby lived in Norwalk on Woodlawn Avenue with her and her fiancé, Mike Stewart, and her daughter, Jenisa Meishon Castile, the mother of Athena.
"We want people to know Athena was from Norwalk," Katia said. "She had lived her whole life here. "She had never been in Sandusky but that one time," Katia said. "She lived here in Norwalk. That was the first time I let her go some place else.
"This is really a loss for Norwalk," she added.
Katia said the community has rallied around her family.
"There has been a tremendous outpouring of support," she said. "Through social media and people dropping off food.
"I have four daughters and many of their friends have set up donation cups," Katia said.
"It's very comforting to know," she added about the support.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at The Chapel, 156 South Norwalk Road. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery.
The tragedy began Thursday after an unidentified female told a 9-1-1 operator that police were needed, but hung up after the operator asked what was happening inside the home.
Before the second call was disconnected, a large commotion with screaming could be heard in the background.
Inside the home, police found a melee with several people fighting.
One individual, assaulting someone who turned out to be the suspect, was Tased by police, the chief said. A woman in the house was struggling with the suspect over the baby; the suspect was able to get the child and ran into a hallway, the chief said.
An officer reported seeing the suspect had a knife and was stabbing the young girl. A family member was able to disarm Castile and then took the baby.
It was not clear how many times the baby was stabbed.
An officer then grabbed the infant and rushed her outside, where an ambulance was waiting. Paramedics took the girl to Firelands Regional Medical Center, where a medical helicopter was on standby. But doctors could not stabilize her in preparation for the flight, and she died early Friday morning.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Toledo Blade (via McClatchy-Tribune News Service) contributed to this story.