In a completely twisted, horrific story out of Germantown, Maryland, two women have been charged with stabbing and killing two children -- 1-year-old Norell Harris and 2-year-old Zyana Harris -- and investigators and police say that they believed they were performing an exorcism. Police charged both 21-year-old Monifa Denise Sanford and 28-year-old mother of the children, Zakieya Latrice Avery, with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.
Police were called to what they describe as a "very bloody" crime scene on Friday morning. That's when they found Norell and Zyana dead with multiple stab wounds. Avery's two other children, 5-year-old Taniya Harris and 8-year-old Martello Harris, along with Sanford, were injured and taken to a hospital. The children are currently still hospitalized, but Sanford was arrested Saturday afternoon following her release from the hospital, police stated.
As for Avery herself, she was unhurt -- and attempted to flee the crime scene. But thankfully, she was caught, arrested, and is being held without bond.
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Apparently, the first sign that something was gravely wrong occurred on Thursday evening, when a neighbor called 911 to report a child left unattended in a car. But by the time the police arrived, the two women had retrieved the child. Still, after an investigation, police arranged for child protective services to visit the home. Ugh ... if only preemptive action could have been been taken sooner. But it seems like it would've been difficult for anyone to know what was about to happen.
What an absolutely sickening nightmare. Not to mention "heartbreaking," as Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger described the situation in a statement. He went onto note:
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.
What words would you relay to family and friends of the victims?