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.
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.
“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.
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.