Zakieya Latrice Avery, Mother, Stabbed 2 Kids To Death During Exorcism Attempt: Police

Two women have been charged in the recent stabbing deaths of two young children at a Germantown townhouse -- in what Montgomery County police said was an attempt at an exorcism.

Police on Saturday said Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, of Germantown was charged with first degree murder and attempted murder after being released from a hospital. Police had charged the children's mother, Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, with first degree murder and attempted murder on Friday. Both women are being held without bond.

The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said 1-year-old Norell N. Harris and 2-year-old Zyana Z. Harris suffered multiple stab wounds in Friday's incident. Two other children, Taniya Harris, 5, and Martello Harris, 8, remained hospitalized, police said.

"Cases like this are heartbreaking," county police chief Tom Manger said in a statement. "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."

Police on Friday were called to the 19000 block of Cherry Bend Drive in Germantown where two of the children were pronounced dead. A resident of the neighborhood called 911 to report a vehicle with the door open and a knife lying outside, police said.

No lawyer was listed for either woman in court records. ___

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