Children killed during attempted exorcism: Police

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:42 PM ET

Two Maryland women have been charged in the stabbing deaths of two young children during what police believe was an attempt at an exorcism.

Norell Harris, 1, and his sister, Zyana Harris, 2, suffered fatal stab wounds while their siblings, who are 5 and 8, were hospitalized, authorities said.

CNN reported that Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. And the children's mother, Zakieya L. Avery, 28, also faces the same charges.

Police said Saturday that Avery stabbed two of her children to death and wounded two others while attempting an exorcism.

But they did not provide details on why they suspected exorcism.

"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," police said.


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