A young mother from Maryland stabbed her children, killing two of them, and injuring the other two, as she performed some kind of exorcism ritual. The woman, 28-year-old, Zakieya L. Avery, 28, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder as well as two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Police have also charged a second woman who they believe was also involved in the exorcism deaths.
The victims of the heinous double murder were Norell Harris, aged one and his sister Zyana Harris, aged two. The other two siblings, who were hospitalized with injuries from knife wounds, were aged 5 and 8.
County police Chief Tom Manger said about the double murder: “Cases like this are heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.”
On Friday morning, a vigilant neighbor contacted the police to inform them of strange activity at Avery’s house. The neighbor reported that a car was left parked out front with its door open, and a knife was nearby.
Authorities didn’t say exactly what the exorcism entailed, but did confirm that the two woman being charged believed they were carrying out a ritual ceremony to defeat evil spirits and demons.
The police said: “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.”
The police told reporters that, before the exorcism deaths, two woman had been seen leaving the house: “Prior to officers arriving, two women exited the townhouse, retrieved the child and re-entered the home. Officers attempted to speak with the residents, but received no response at the door.”
It remains to be seen what caused the woman to believe they were really performing an exorcism as police carry out a full investigation into the circumstances that led to the tragic deaths of the two children.