Police charged two women on Saturday in the deaths of two children in Maryland, saying the women believed they were performing an exorcism.
Montgomery County Police charged 21-year-old Monifa Denise Sanford and 28-year-old Zakieya Latrice Avery with murder in the deaths of two of Avery’s children, a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old. The women are also facing attempted murder charges for injuring the children’s siblings, ages 5 and 8.
Police say the two younger children who died suffered multiple stab wounds.
Police were called to the home where the women lived on Friday. A neighbor called 911 after noticing a vehicle with the door open and a knife laying outside of the vehicle. Avery was arrested when authorities say she tried to flee from a townhouse near the vehicle. Police found the two children dead inside the home, and their siblings and Sanford were taken to the hospital with injuries.
Police say Sanford was arrested Saturday after being released from the hospital.
Also on Saturday police identified the children who died as Norell Harris, a 1-year-old boy, and Zyana Harris, a 2-year-old girl.
The older children who were injured were identified as 5-year-old Taniya Harris, a girl, and 8-year-old Martello Harris, a boy. They remained hospitalized Saturday.
Police say Sanford and Avery each face two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder. Both were being held without bond.
Horrific detail: According to reports, the children may have been sleeping in their rooms when they were stabbed NBC Washington reported that the children were found in the bedrooms and may have been stabbed in their sleep.
The two surviving victims of the attack allegedly sparked by an exorcism were listed in stable condition at Children’s National Medical Center Saturday. ‘Cases like this are heartbreaking’ said Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger.
‘Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims along with the 911 operators, police officers, evidence technicians, and fire and EMS personnel that responded’.