Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shrine in the snow, in memory of Norell and Zyana Harris | Exorcism homicide, Germantown Maryland

From Montgomery County Maryland police reports: Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division have charged a 28-year-old woman with murder in the deaths of two of her children. On Friday, January 17, 2014, Montgomery County Police officers responded to the 19000 block of Cherry Bend Drive in Germantown, Maryland, where they discovered four children that had been assaulted. Two of the children were pronounced deceased on the scene and the other two were transported to a hospital for treatment of their injuries. In addition, a 21-year-old woman was transported to a hospital for medical treatment. The children’s mother was on the scene but was uninjured.
Detectives have now charged the children’s mother with two counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder. She is identified as Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28.  She was taken to police headquarters from the scene where she was interviewed and subsequently charged. She is currently being held without bond. Detectives also arrested Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, of the  same address in Germantown after she was released from the hospital. Sanford has been charged with two counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder. She is being held without bond.
The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled today that both Norell Harris, age 1, and Zyana Harris, age 2, suffered multiple stab wounds and both deaths have been classified as homicide.  Taniya Harris, age 5, and Martello Harris, age 8, remain hospitalized.

Investigators have learned that the two defendants believed that they were performing an exorcism.

“Cases like this are heartbreaking” said Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger. “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.”

There is considerably more information on this deeply shocking case in the Washington Post.

Candles in the snow...

And a prayer for mercy and justice in this world.