Two children stabbed to death during reported exorcism in Maryland (UPDATE: church members, “Demon Assassins”)

The background on this is very unclear but two children are dead and another 2 injured in a harrowing scene in a Washington, D.C. suburb.

Women Killed Two Children in ‘Exorcism’ Attempt, Police Say.

Two women charged with stabbing and killing two children in Germantown, Md., believed they were performing an exorcism, Montgomery County Police said.

Police charged both Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, and the mother, Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.

Police found both Norell Harris, 1, and Zyana Harris, 2, dead with multiple stab wounds. Avery’s two other children, Taniya Harris, 5, and Martello Harris, 8, along with Sanford were also found injured and taken to a hospital.

More. The women tried to escape but were apprehended. Neighbors are shocked. A passer-by called police after finding blood and a knife. This followed another call on Thursday after a child was left outside in a car. The motive of exorcism is mentioned but unclear.

Children and those with psychological problems are typical victims of attempts at exorcism. The idea of demonic possession and do-it-yourself exorcism is on the rise in popular culture. Amazing. We are in the 21st century and people are still thinking this way.

Tip: Heather Henderson

UPDATE: (20-Jan-2014) There is more coming out now about why the women performed an exorcism on the children. They feared evil spirits were in them.

Police: Md. woman charged in children’s deaths feared they were possessed by devil – Herald Mail Media: Local News. [Associated Press]

“She [the mother] 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,” said Capt. Marcus Jones, director of the police department’s major crimes division. “She just thought that there were evil spirits within the kids.”

The women had been living together in the house.

Jones said the women are believed to have met each other at a church, which he identified as Exousia Ministries in Germantown.

The pastor of that congregation, Darryl Jones, declined to discuss the case after services at an elementary school Sunday or even confirm that the women worshipped there.

I tried to find out more about this church and what they preach but likely due to the press coverage, the website is down due to bandwidth exceedence. The pastor is Darryl Joyce, not Jones.

UPDATE (21-Jan-2014) Additional details about the women who thought they were “demon assassins”. Psych screening for Md. women held in kids’ deaths.

The women also reported to investigators that they saw the eyes of each of the children blackening and, after the intended exorcism, took a shower, cleaned up the bloody scene and “prepared the children to see God,” McCarthy said.

The women identified themselves to investigators as members of a group known as the “demon assassins,” and police are looking to interview other people who might be part of the same organization but say there are no other suspects.

Police report that that emergency call from the passerby likely saved the lives of the other two children. The women will undergo psychological evaluations, obviously. Were they encouraged to undertake these rituals? Who or what put this horrific idea into their heads? The trail of death of innocents continues in the name of Dark Age superstition.

Pastor Dan Thornton talks about helping Zakieya Avery |

ABC7 has learned that the women met recently at a Germantown church, where services feature the casting-off of demons through dance and prayer. Apparently, not satisfied this was enough, Avery and Sanford then left the church and started calling themselves the “Demon Assassins.”

They allegedly came to believe that one of the children was possessed, and sources say that last Friday morning, they used a knife to cut the demon out of that child’s chest, but then believing that it jumped into the next child, they repeated the cutting again and again until all four had been attacked.

Avery, the mother of the children, had a history of mental treatment. The other woman apparently did not. One church pastor notes he tried to help Avery with her troubles but no details are given. The woman eventually shut out requests to help.

  7 comments for “Two children stabbed to death during reported exorcism in Maryland (UPDATE: church members, “Demon Assassins”)

  1. Angela
    January 19, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    We were discussing this one in our group last night. I have a feeling that when further investigation is done in this is going to turn out that there were red flags that should have been spotted before now. This could not have been an isolated incident. Poor babies–my thoughts are with the ones still alive and such sadness for the ones whose lives ended so soon and so horribly. I’ll be following to see what other information can be found, and if I find anything reliable or relevant, I will post it here.

  2. Chris Howard
    January 19, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Tragic and disgusting.

  3. Lee
    January 19, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Delusion kills

  4. January 20, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Funny how this never happens to children of atheists.

  5. January 20, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Anytime a website or page is “down,” deleted, or changed from before, there’s a good chance you can find its previous state at, For this church, there’s only one entry, part of the page from two days ago, and so far it looks pretty much like a “regular” Christian church:

    Oh, look, a Twitter account!

  6. Gillo
    January 22, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    Clearly demons were in the house…only not in the kids…
    So sad.

  7. January 22, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Darryl Joyce has a Facebook Page as well. I think people should ask some questions about this ministry and why these women felt they were qualified to perform exorcisms.

Comments are closed.