promo291767119A Memphis  mother has been charged with first- degree murder after police say she stabbed her four children to death in their home.

According to reports, Shanynthia Gardner admitted to killing her children who were 4,3,2 and 6-months-old. She admitted to it to the father of her children, Martin Gardner, over a phone call.

Police received a phone call from a neighbor after Gardner’s 7-year-old came running out of the house screaming for help.

They said Gardner’s 7-year-old had come running out of the house, screaming for help.

An affidavit filed in Shelby County court by a sheriff’s detective identified the victims as 4-year-old Tallen Gardner; 3-year-old Sya Gardner; 2 year-old Sahvi Gardner; and 6-month old Yahzi Gardner.  7-year-old Dallen Clayton, who escaped, is Gardner’s son from a previous marriage.

From ABC News:

Authorities have not divulged what circumstances they believe led to the killings. Oldham said investigators were trying to determine if Gardner has mental health problems.

About 30 people attended an outdoor candlelight vigil at the apartment complex on Saturday evening. They prayed for the four children, the surviving boy, and Shanynthia Gardner. A pastor poured water from a decanter onto the ground, in remembrance of the victims.

Sonya Clayton, Dallen Clayton’s grandmother, said she had not seen the boy’s mother for a few years. She said she was shocked by the attack.

“She was a sweet young lady,” Clayton said of Shanynthia Gardner. “What happened, I don’t understand.”

Later, Sonya Clayton said she forgives her former daughter-in-law.

“I know this is the work of the devil,” Sonya Clayton said. “I know this is not Shanynthia. And I pray and I love Shanynthia.”

Gardner was charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse-endangerment, four counts of aggravated child abuse, four counts of aggravated child abuse-neglect, and four counts of first- degree murder.

She is expected to be in court on July 5.

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