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Maryland exorcism mom had history of mental illness

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One-year-old Norrell Harris and his two-year-old sister Zyana were stabbed to death by their mother in an attempted exorcism. Their bodies were discovered early Friday morning by police.

Their five-year-old sister Tanya and eight-year-old brother Martello were also injured during the “ceremony”.

Monifa Denise Sanford was also found on the scene. She has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The mother faces the same charges.

Captain Marcus Jones, Director of the Major Crimes Division for Montgomery County Police Dept., told CNN this is the first case he has ever heard of involving an exorcism.

He went on to say that when police first arrived on the scene, “The mother charged passed them and ran outside of the residence. Officers had to tackle her and put the woman in custody before they even got a chance to go inside to see what they had.”

It was at that time the gruesome discovery of the children was made. Two children were deceased in an upstairs bedroom. The five year old was lying injured in another bedroom. The eight-year-old ran out of the townhouse with the mother even though he was suffering from extensive injuries. Police grabbed him immediately and began medical treatment.

Captain Jones stated neighbors and family say there were no warning signs. Family members did state there was a history of mental illness. Police are still looking into the details of this development and how it relates to this case. “We do not know specifically what types of issues she’s had in the past.”

The police continue to look into the ritualistic aspect of this case. Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

According to Captain Jones, the two surviving children are doing well. They are still in critical condition, but they are recovering. They continue to get better and are expected to survive.



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