UK & World News
'Exorcism' Mother 'Stabs Children' In Maryland
A mother accused of stabbing her two toddler children to death believed she was performing an exorcism, police have said.
Zakieya Avery, 28, and her friend Monifa Sanford, have been charged with murder over the deaths of Norell Harris, one, and Zyana Harris, two.
The two women were also charged with attempted murder after Avery's older children Taniya Harris, five, and Martello Harris, eight, were seriously injured.
Police - who said they found a "very bloody" crime scene - believe the children may have been knifed to death as they slept in their beds.
Officers were called on Friday to the home in Germantown, Maryland, where the women were living.
A neighbour called 911 after noticing a knife lying next to a blue car with the door left open.
The keys were still in the ignition and the car was covered in blood, police said.
Montgomery County Police said Avery was arrested as she tried to flee from the house.
Officers had to force their way into the property, where they found Norell and Zyana dead in their bedrooms with multiple stab wounds.
Their siblings were taken to hospital along with Sanford with injuries.
Sanford was arrested on Saturday after being released from the hospital.
Stunned neighbours organised a small memorial of stuffed animals near the crime site.
One neighbour, Gabriella Lemus, said: "It's just such a tragedy, because who could do that to their own children?"
Another, Roger Florencio, said: "I have a child myself, and I can't imagine what person could do that to their children."
The injured children are being treated in Children's Hospital in northwest Washington.
The two women each face two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.
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