Police charged two women on Saturday in the deaths of two children in Maryland, saying the women believed they were performing an exorcism.
Mom Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, is charged with another woman in the deaths of Avery’s children. Two other kids were injured.
21-year-old Monifa Denise Sanford and Avery allegedly stabbed to death the 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 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.
The older children who were injured 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.
“Investigators have learned that the two defendants believed that they were performing an exorcism. The investigation into this motive and other aspects of the crime continue at this point,” police said.
“Prior to officers arriving, two women exited the townhouse, retrieved the child and re-entered the home,” Montgomery County Police said. “Officers attempted to speak with the residents, but received no response at the door. “