Two women in Germantown, Maryland have been arrested following a murder and attempted murder of one's own children on Friday. The women were said to have been performing an exorcism.
Two of the children died of multiple stab wounds and two others are hospitalized with undisclosed injuries, police said.
The women, Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, along with the children's mother, Zakieya L. Avery, 28 have been charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, Montgomery County Police said.
It is unknown why these women would do such a thing to their children, but police reported that Avery stabbed two of her children until they died, and the others were suffering with stab wounds.
Sanford was briefly hospitalized after the incident and was charged after she was released. Police believe she is not related to the family, but lived at the same residence in Germantown.
The children who were brutally stabbed are Norell Harris, 1, and his sister, Zyana Harris, 2, who suffered fatal stab wounds while their siblings, who are 5 and 8, were hospitalized, authorities said.
"Cases like this are heartbreaking," county Police Chief Tom Manger said. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims."
The four children were found after a neighbor called 911 reporting unusual and suspicious activity at the home. The neighbor said she saw a car with the door wide open, and a knife next to it.
Exorcism, as explained by the Catholic Encyclopedia: the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice.
"Investigators have learned that the two defendants believed that they were performing an exorcism. The investigation into this motive and other aspects of the crime continue at this point," police said.
Both women are being held without bail.
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