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Home News Afro Briefs Originally published January 18, 2014

Police: 2 Women Charged in Maryland Exorcism Stabbing Deaths of 2 Kids

by Associated Press

    From bottom left: Zakieya Latrice Avery, mother of the two children (above), and (right) Monifa Denise Sanford also charged in the stabbing death of the 1 and 2 year old children. Photo/AP and Facebook. (Courtesy Photo)
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GERMANTOWN, Md. (AP) — 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.

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