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Montgomery County "Exorcism" Murder Has Local Ties

A 28-year-old woman is accused of stabbing two of her children and wounding two others while allegedly attempting to perform an exorcism. The disturbing story has a local tie. The woman accused in the incident used to attend a church in Hagerstown.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - More from a tragic story out of Montgomery County. A 28-year-old woman is accused of stabbing two of her children and wounding two others while allegedly attempting to perform an exorcism. The disturbing story has a local tie. The woman accused in the incident used to attend a church in Hagerstown. 

Germantown resident Zakieya Avery and her four children used to attend the Maranatha Brethren Church on Scott Hill Drive. On Friday, Montgomery County Police say the 28-year-old stabbed two of her children to death and wounded two others while attempting to perform an exorcism. 

"It's such a tragedy because who could do that to their own children?" said Gabriella Lemus. 

WHAG reached out to the Maranatha Brethren Church in Hagerstown on Monday who did not want to speak on camera, but said they were shocked and horrified by the murders. 

Neighbors and family members gathered at a home on Cherry Bend Drive Saturday night to remember the two lives cut short by the tragic crime. 

Police say Avery and another woman, Monifa Sanford, killed one-year-old Norell Harris and his two-year-old sister Zyana. Two other children, who are five and eight-years-old, suffered several stab wounds and were taken to an area hospital where they're recovering. 

"They seemed like regular people. You would never think that they would do something like this. You know, the people you just walk past every day," said Deonta Johnson. 

Both Avery and Sanford are charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. Both are being held without bond and are expected to appear in court on Tuesday. 
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