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Maryland: Mother kills two children in botched exorcism

Zakieya Latrice Avery
Zakieya Latrice Avery

In Maryland, a mother killed two of her own children and injured two of her other children while performing an exorcism last Friday.

Police charged the mother, Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, of Germantown, Md., with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to a report issued Sunday, Jan. 19, by USA Today.

Avery is currently being held without bond.

The deceased children, identified as Norell N. Harris, 1, and Zyana Z. Harris, 2, had been stabbed to death. The other two children injured are still hospitalized. They are identified as Taniya Harris, 5, and Martello Harris, 8.

Also charged in the botched exorcism is Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, who was also at the scene. Sanford has also been charged with two counts of first degree murder for the deaths of the two kids and two counts of attempted murder for two children who are still in the hospital. She is also being held without bond.

A neighbor called 911 on Friday reporting suspicious activity. Police who responded to the scene found a blue car with its door open, keys in the ignition and blood in the car. Police also found a knife on the sidewalk outside. Police believe the red-handled knife may be one of the weapons used in the attack.

Officers had to force their way into the home and found the victims inside in a "very bloody" crime scene.

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