A woman who was baby-sitting her two nieces stabbed them repeatedly with kitchen knives, then called 911 from the upscale home across the street from Martha Stewart's estate, police said Monday.
The 7- and 9-year-old girls survived the Saturday night attack and Sunday surgery and were in stable condition and improving on Monday, police said.
Bedford police Lt. Jeffrey Dickan described the scene as "quite horrible."
"There was a lot of blood in the kitchen area," he said.
The girls were both conscious and talking when they were found, the lieutenant said, and two bloodied kitchen knives were recovered. He would not describe the girls' wounds.
Lisa Turkki of East Syracuse, the girls' aunt and their mother's sister, sustained a minor injury to her leg that was possibly self-inflicted, Dickan said. She was outside the house when police arrived and was immediately arrested.
Dickan declined to discuss a possible motive or Turkki's mental state. He also declined to reveal what Turkki said during the 911 call or in other statements to police.
Turkki was arraigned on two counts of assault and was ordered held without bail at the Westchester County Jail. She had no attorney of record as of Monday, and a phone message left at her home was not immediately returned. She is scheduled to appear in Bedford Town Court on Thursday.
Turkki voluntarily submitted to urine and blood tests and did not seem to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, said Dickan.
Katonah, a hamlet within Bedford, is about 40 miles north of midtown Manhattan. The area is wooded, with houses far apart and shielded from the road by mature trees and shrubs. The girls and their parents live in a modern wooden house known in the neighborhood for its green technology.
On Monday morning, the only activity outside the house was men pruning trees. The house has lovely gardens, a stone wall and shares a driveway with another house. On Stewart's estate, a woman could be seen riding a horse while workers weeded the lawn outside the estate's stone wall.
On Saturday, Turkki was watching the girls while their parents were attending a concert at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, a popular summertime music venue within walking distance of the house, said Dickan. The parents were called to the box office during intermission and told to return home. By the time they got there, the girls had been taken to the hospital, he said.
The lieutenant said he did not know whether Turkki had ever baby-sat the girls before.
"It's like a worst nightmare for a parent," said neighbor Heather Flournoy, who writes a blog on green living and in 2008 wrote about the family's use of green technology in their home.
She said the girls had recently called her to tell her "they had baby chicks and they were going to raise chickens." .