On Sunday, Jan. 19, Montgomery County police arrested a woman for murdering two of her children in an exorcism to remove the devil from them. The woman stabbed her one year-old and two year-old children to death.
Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of her two children. The Montgomery County police responded to the home where Avery lived after they received a 911 call from a neighbor.
The neighbor contacted the police department after noticing a car in the driveway with the car door open and a bloody knife lying on the ground beside the car at the end of a blood trail leading back to the home.
When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered all four of Avery’s children dead or wounded. The two youngest children, ages one and two were deceased while the two older children, ages five and eight were injured.
All of the children received the stab wounds while lying in their beds. Investigators believe the children had been sleeping when the attack began.
Captain Marcus Jones, director of the police department’s major crimes division stated, “She thought the devil was in the kids, and that’s sort of the thing she centered it around as to why she had to conduct an exorcism.”
“She thought that there were evil spirits within the kids.” A second woman, Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, involved in the murder of those two precious babies gave police investigators similar statements regarding the devil and evil spirits.
Capt. Jones revealed that the two women had been living in the house together for the last several months. They allegedly met at church services at the Exousia Ministries in Germantown, Md.
Jones went on to add that the father of the children did not reside in the area but was on his way to be with his surviving children.
As of Sunday, the two injured children were still hospitalized. The two deceased children died from multiple stab wounds. In addition to the knife police found outside, they also recovered two knives inside the home.
Pastor of the Exousia Ministries church, Darryl Jones refused to discuss the case or the two women. He did however comment saying, “This is a tragic situation. We’re keeping the family in our prayers and we are respecting the privacy of the family.”
Sylvia Wade, Avery’s step-grandmother spoke with the Washington Post and said, “I don’t know what triggered it. She wasn’t herself. When a person is not of themselves, they are not responsible for what they are doing. They are in another zone.”
Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger spoke with reporters and said, “Cases like this are heartbreaking. 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.”
Both, Avery and Sanford were charged of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. They are currently being held on no bound and are not expected to appear in court until Tuesday afternoon at the earliest. As of yet, no records list any attorney for either woman.
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