Zakieya Latrice Avery, Monifa Denise Sanford accused of murdering two children

Left: Zakieya Latrice Avery; right: Monifa Sanford. Photo: Montgomery County Police

(WJLA) - Police have now charged two women with murder in the deaths of two children in Germantown and say the defendants were attempting to perform an exorcism.

On Saturday morning, the childrens' mother, Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, was charged. Monifa Denise Sanford, age 21, was arrested and charged after she was released from the hospital.

On Friday, Montgomery County police officers responded to the 19000 block of Cherry Bend Drive where they discovered four children had been assaulted. Two of the children were pronounced dead on scene and the other two were transported to an area hospital.

Avery and Sanford have both been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Zyana Z. Harris, 2, and Norell N. Harris, 1, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder of the other two children, Taniya Harris, 5, and Martello Harris, 8, who both remain hospitalized.

Avery and Sanford are being held without bond.

"Cases like this are heartbreaking," says Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims along with the 911 operators, police officers, evidence technicians, and fire and EMS personnel that responded."{ }

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