Shanynthia Gardner shocked the world over the weekend when it was reported that she’d brutally stabbed her four babies. The vile crime itself has been more than enough to make people cringe, but now new details have emerged.
According to WREG, officers with the Memphis Police Department made a gruesome discovery when they arrived at Gardner’s apartment. In addition to finding a large butcher knife covered in blood, her four children — 4-year-old Tallen Gardner, 3-year-old Sya Gardner, 2 year-old Sahvi Gardner, and 6-month-old Yahzi Gardner — were found with several lacerations to their throat. The fifth child, 7-year-old Dallen Clayton, managed to get out of the apartment while the massacre was taking place.
According to the affidavit, Shanynthia Gardner even made a chilling confession about the murders during a phone conversation with her husband, Martin Gardner. “This is a terrible act, an egregious act that has shocked, I believe, the community, and has shocked our staff to the core,” Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham said Saturday.
Although authorities have not divulged information about the circumstances that led to the horrific stabbing, other details have been released. Apparently, there was a seemingly odd incident that occurred in 2015 that raises questions about whether or not Shanynthia Gardner has some form of mental illness. Shanynthia Gardner had done a number of disturbing things prior to the stabbing that may have served as a chilling foreboding of what occurred on Friday, July 1.
Back in March of 2015, Shanynthia Gardner actually disappeared after leaving work early. She unexpectedly picked up the children and headed to another state. According to the police report that was filed on March 19, 2015, her husband had reported her missing. He revealed she’d been having work-related problems and bouts with anxiety.
Apparently, the strange behavior began on March 16. She reportedly suffered from paranoia and had “been feeling that someone is trying to harm her and her family.” So, she decided to flee. She contacted her husband from Corinth, Mississippi later that night, but was found in a Memphis, Tennessee hospital emergency room days later.
Despite the possibility of a mental illness, it is unclear whether or not Shanynthia Gardner’s defense will be able to use mental incompetence to help her case. But, regardless of any mental illness, many people who attended Saturday’s vigil for the four slain children agreed on one thing: the children’s lives shouldn’t have been cut short. “Like the minister said, you don’t know what they could have been in life,” said Gardner’s neighbor Mona Hansen. “Their lives didn’t even get started yet, before they were taken.”
Many who knew Shanynthia Gardner also agreed that her actions were completely devastating and heart-wrenching. Many of her co-workers at ALSAC for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital explained how shocking because Shanynthia didn’t seem like the type of parent to commit such a gruesome crime.
Detrail Clayton, father of Shanynthia Gardner’s oldest son, Dallen, also made a similar statement when he spoke with The Commercial Appeal. In the 15 years he’s known her, he claims there were no signs of this type of behavior. However, he did admit “when the doors close, you never know what a person is going through. It’s an act of evil. I don’t know what she’s got into.”
Even Dallen’s grandmother, Sonya, admitted that she was shocked by her actions. “She was a sweet young lady,” Sonya Clayton said. “What happened, I don’t understand. I know this is the work of the devil,” Sonya Clayton said. “I know this is not Shanynthia. And I pray and I love Shanynthia.”
Shanynthia Gardner is currently facing four counts of first degree murder while committing aggravated child abuse, four counts of aggravated child neglect or endangerment, and four counts of aggravated child abuse, according to CBS News. Her arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5.
Do you think mental illness should be taken into consideration for Shanynthia Gardner’s case? Share your thoughts.
[Photo by AP Photo/Adrian Sainz]