Police: Children Stabbed to Death in Attempted 'Exorcism'

A mother was charged in the incident involving the stabbing of her four young children in along with another woman.

Montgomery County police charged Zakieya Latrice Avery (left) and Monifa Denise Sanford (right) in the killings of Avery's children. Photo Credit: MCPD
Montgomery County police charged Zakieya Latrice Avery (left) and Monifa Denise Sanford (right) in the killings of Avery's children. Photo Credit: MCPD
GERMANTOWN, Md. — Police said that two women are facing murder charges after four children were stabbed—two to death—in what they believe was an attempted exorcism Friday.

The mother of the children, Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, of the 19000 block of Cherry Bend Drive was charged Saturday with attempted murder in the stabbings of her four children. Montgomery County police said a second suspect, Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, of the same address, was also charged with murder and attempted murder in the same case.

Police said that the women believed that they were performing an "exorcism" on the children. The incident is still under investigation.

According to police, the Maryland Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Saturday that Norell Harris, 1, and  Zyana Harris, 2, died Friday from multiple stab wounds. The cause of their deaths was determined to be homicide.

Two other children—identified as 5-year-old Taniya Harris and 8-year-old Martello Harris—were found seriously and critically injured at the scene. They remain in the hospital as of Saturday evening being treated for injuries, police said.

Police found two children dead in an upstairs bedroom and two injured Friday morning, after responding to a 911 call. A neighbor reported seeing a vehicle with its door open and a knife outside of the vehicle.

Sanford was treated for minor injures related to the incident and Avery was not injured, according to police.

There have been no other charges in this case, and no further details have been released. The case is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

Editor's note: This story was updated Sunday, Jan. 19, to include Sanford's booking photo. 
Ben Novick January 19, 2014 at 04:13 PM
Poor kids. I hope the injured recover. As for her, she looks guilty.
Suzanne Marie Smith January 19, 2014 at 05:44 PM
she looks NUTS
John Watson January 20, 2014 at 12:50 AM
members of the evil william branham cult..this cult has killed 7 children in the last 3 years...and many many more in africa including 2 gays in uganda
Brandi Boho January 20, 2014 at 10:18 AM
They both look nuts!!! God, this isn't far from me either and my ex boyfriend lives right around the corner from them! Scary to think just about anyone could be a psycho in street clothing!
Billy Z Williams January 20, 2014 at 11:50 AM
Behold the fruits of the Democrats' precious welfare system - keeping poor blacks enslaved in perpetuity.
Susana Cordero-Collins January 20, 2014 at 03:26 PM
Dookie, you're a disgusting, racist piece of scum.
Tom Hollman January 20, 2014 at 03:35 PM
Renea Sinha January 20, 2014 at 08:37 PM
are we sure Monifa is a woman???
Dookie Tookie January 21, 2014 at 10:06 AM
Fugly as f*ck!
Dookie Tookie January 21, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Who's got a bigger lips?
Thomas Stieglitz January 21, 2014 at 04:38 PM
It will be very interesting to see what happens to these two ADULTS who did this to children--will the system see this as the heinous crime that it is, or will these two somehow just get a relative wrist slap and be back on their merry way?
Maria January 22, 2014 at 01:47 PM
To Suzanne, they both look nuts!
Maria January 22, 2014 at 01:48 PM
Anthony Romeo Jr. January 22, 2014 at 02:05 PM
You know.. it's the banks FAULT.
Anthony Romeo Jr. January 22, 2014 at 02:05 PM
the comments, here, do not, tell a "LIE."
Michael Weakley January 22, 2014 at 02:19 PM
I've never heard of knives being used in exorcisms. Are they sure it wasn't the adults who were the so called possessed?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something