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Pius X Stabbing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

By: 10/11 News Email
By: 10/11 News Email
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The 16-year-old girl suspected in an attack at Lincoln Pius X High School is out of jail on a personal recognizance bond.

Sarah Piccolo waived her right to appear in district court and entered a plea of not guilty. She was charged with first degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

The prosecution asked for a $50,000 bond, but the judge set a $10,000 personal recognizance bond, which means she will not have to pay anything, as long as she shows up to all future court dates. She is expected back in court Nov. 6.

According to police, Piccolo stabbed 17-year-old Ellen Kopetzky in the women's bathroom at Pius X High School on Oct.7. Police said that Piccolo used a survival knife with an eight-inch blade, similar to a hunting knife, in the assault. Police say she used a hammer to hit Kopetzky twice in the back of the head. They say Kopetzky had cuts to her face near her mouth and chin.

Officer Katie Flood says Piccolo was in the bathroom and as Kopetzky opened the door to enter, she was attacked. According to police reports, Piccolo never said a word before, during or after the assault.

Lincoln police say Piccolo fled after the assault, she was found Oct. 8 just after 10 a.m. in Woodson County, Kansas.

Kansas officials say Piccolo was taken into custody after they received a call concerning someone with car trouble near the area. She was detained at a juvenile detention facility in Kansas while officials planned for her return to Nebraska. Piccolo arrived at the Lancaster County Youth Detention Center Thursday, Oct. 10.

Police tell 10/11 News they sent Piccolo's description into a missing persons national database which may have helped officials locate her.

The Star Motel manager, who only gives her first name Jackie, says Piccolo arrived at the Kansas motel late Monday after the assault.

Jackie says, "She was such a sweet little girl."

The motel manager says she could tell the 16-year-old had a lot on her mind. "And when she told me she was 16, I said, 'Girl what is wrong? Did you run away from home? She said yes and started crying and I held her."

Jackie says she offered to call her parents but instead says Sarah asked her to call police.

"And that's when she said she'd been bullied and said she did some things she wished she'd never done. And all she could do was cry," said Jackie.

Jackie says she asked the girl if she had a weapon. "And she said, 'Yes.' I've got a knife in my purse and I said you need to give that to them.' " Jackie described it as a hunting knife.

The motel manager says she watched as police also found a long butcher knife and a screwdriver in the car the girl was driving.

Pius X administrators announced Junior Sarah Piccolo's capture over the school's PA system. Students said they couldn't believe the news.

"It still hasn't hit me really yet that all of this happened at my school," said Pius X Student, Lauren Tobias.

"They were so happy that she was safe and we were all praying for her and she was in our thoughts," said Pius X Student, Christina Hanus. "We're all just really happy that she was found and okay."

Tobias said while students still don't understand how this happened, they're just glad to be safe.

"We don't know what's been going on and why she did this, but it just makes us feel better than she's safe and it makes us feel a lot safer too," said Tobias.

Parents said they also felt a sense of security knowing that Sarah is safe.

"I'm relieved, it just lets me breathe a little bit more because I was concerned about Sarah and what she might do to herself," said Pius X parent, Cynthia Hanus.

Superintendent Father Jim Meysenburg said it's been a long journey for students and families involved.

"I think for everybody here there was just a huge sense of relief after 30 plus hours of just kind of struggling and emotionally being pretty drained by it all," said Father Meysenburg.

Kopetzky underwent surgery at Bryan West to treat multiple injuries, including stab wounds, as a result of the assault.

The Kopetzky family issued the following statement Tuesday (Oct. 8):

Our family is happy to report that our daughter Ellen has returned home to continue her recovery. We're overwhelmed by the kindness of our community in this difficult moment.

Today, we are rejoicing that Sarah Piccolo has been found, and that she is safe. We are continuing our prayers for her and her family. We hope that she will be treated with respect, with charity, and with dignity. We pray especially that the Piccolo family will be supported by this community as we have been.

We're grateful for the leadership and support of the administration and staff of St. Pius X High School. Surely, God will "restore all things in Christ."

We ask you to continue to respect our privacy as our family moves forward from this incident.

--The Kopetzky family

The Kopetzky family issued the following statement Monday (Oct.7):

This morning our daughter Ellen Kopetzky was injured at Pius X High School. Ellen was taken for medical treatment, and is recovering with her family. We’re blessed by the outreach of friends in our community and across the country. Thank you for your prayers, your compassion, and your well-wishes. By God’s grace, Ellen will recover.

We ask you to join us in prayer for Sarah Piccolo and her family. We pray that she may be treated with respect and with mercy, and that our community will also support her family. The love of God can conquer all things.

Thank you for all that you have done for us. At this time, we ask that you respect the privacy of our family as Ellen recovers.

--The Kopetzky family.


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