“As the community reels after the tragic murder of two young children in Germantown during what police say was an attempted exorcism, a professor and expert in the field tells FOX45 there has been a resurgence of exorcisms in Montgomery County.
“Don’t be surprised, it isn’t a case of ‘it cant happen here,’ of course it can happen here and the most surprising people can become convinced,” University of Maryland professor Dr. William Stuart told FOX45.
When police arrived at a Germantown townhouse on Friday for reports of a car with a door open and a knife lying nearby, they found four young children with stab wounds. Two, a 1-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, were dead by the time police arrived.
Detectives say Zakieya Latrice Avery, 28, and Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, confessed to attempting an exorcism on Avery’s children. Both women were charged with two counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of Attempted First Degree murder.
Dr. Stuart has studied the history of exorcisms and, what he says is resurgence in Montgomery County. In most cases Stuart says an exorcism isn’t violent, but that exorcism by homicide is another form of attempting to rid evil spirits or demons. In this case the children were found stabbed multiple times.
According to Catholic Encyclopedia newadvent.org, exorcism is defined as “the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice.”
Pastor Dan Thornton of Maranatha Brethren Church in Hagerstown says he knew Avery’s family had fallen on hard times, but did not realize how bad things really were. Thornton told FOX45 the family moved to Hagerstown several years ago for the prospect of a new job, but when that job fell through were left with no car and no income.
The church knew her then as Kieya Harris, when she and her husband Martin were happy with three children and pregnancy with the fourth. The pastor says church members took the mother to counseling during the time she lived in Hagerstown, but don’t know for what type of mental health issues.”