Maryland natives are reeling from a horrific event that occurred in Germantown this past Friday.
Montgomery County Police responded to a 9-1-1 call about a knife outside a car covered in blood where a child was left unattended. Law enforcement officials were not prepared for the grizzly scene that awaited them in a Cherry Bend Drive townhouse.
Inside were the bodies of one-year-old Norell Harris and his sister Zyana, who was just two years old. Their 28-year-old mother, Zakieya Avery, was arrested as she tried to flee the scene via a rear door. Her 21-year-old friend, Monifa Sanford, had suffered injuries and was arrested as she left an area hospital.
Two kids stabbed to death during an "exorcism." I don't even have words for that. http://t.co/r5rZfSIwBs
— MikeT (@MikeT_CT) January 20, 2014
There were two older siblings were seriously injured by the two women as well. Martello, aged eight, and Taniya, aged 5, were treated for their wounds at a hospital near Washington, D.C.
Says county Police Chief Tom Manger, “Cases like this are heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.”
A police spokesperson revealed that it was learned over the course of investigation that the two women believed that they were performing an exorcism.
Capt. Marcus Jones, commander of the county’s major crimes unit says that the event was, “all about what was in their minds” and that the women believed “there was something bad going on with the children, and they were trying to release it” by stabbing them multiple times.
While the American public is familiar with Catholic exorcisms which involve ritualistic behaviors, at no point is anyone stabbed.
What the women speak of resembles the “blood letting” medical practices thousands and thousands of years ago where it was believed if you cut the body and released blood, evil spirits and demons would exit as well. It should go without saying that this practice has largely fallen out of favor as humans have evolved both scientifically and socially.
However, this behavior goes far beyond ancient wife's tales and into the realm of serious psychological problems. Research has shown that there are close ties between schizophrenia and ultra religious beliefs.
Is this tragedy the result of mental illness or is religion being used as a cover to mask cold-blooded murder? What do YOU think? Respond below.
Image via Nikki Burdine