Mother Arrested After Her Four Children Under 5 Years Old Were Found Fatally Stabbed in Apartment: Cops
A Tennessee mother was arrested Friday after a 911 call led police to an apartment where they found four young children stabbed to death.
Shanynthia Gardner, 29, has been charged with multiple counts of first degree murder in the slayings of her 6-month-old, 2-year-old, 3-year-old and 4-year -old children, officials revealed at a new conference Saturday.
Gardner's 7-year-old son managed to flee unharmed, officials said. The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said they were not aware of any prior mental health issues related to the mother.
The Memphis-area community was shocked by the reports, by no one more than the parishioners of New Growth Christ Christian Church, which is located mere blocks away from the grisly scene of the murders.
That's why a group of church members who'd never even met the children or the mother arrested after their murders, gathered together to pray just hours after the killings.
Bishop Sidney Malon organized the prayer sessions with the goal of helping the city overcome.
"In light of the recent tragedy in our community this afternoon, we must come together to pray," the church wrote in a Facebook post.
The church organized another prayer session for the victims.
"The detectives told me they were all babies," Shelby County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Earle Farrell told InsideEdition.com. "I'm thinking that's no older than 5 years."
Authorities have not arrested the father of the four children, who reportedly married their mother relatively recently.
The father was questioned, but police said he was not at home at the time the children were killed.
The scene of the crime, the Greens at Irene apartment complex, is directly adjacent to a golf course and in no way an area accustomed to murders of any kind, much less of this magnitude, according to reports.
At a vigil scheduled in the clubhouse Saturday night, area residents will come together to ask the question on so many people's minds.
"One of the most difficult questions in any investigation always is 'Why?" Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham said. "It's a tragic scene and one that shocked us to our core."
Names of the suspect and victims were withheld until family members were all contacted. A second press conference was scheduled for Saturday morning.