The Memphis woman who allegedly stabbed to death four of her young children on Friday was identified by police in a Saturday morning press conference.
Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham revealed that charges have been filed against 29-year-old Shanynthia Gardner, who is now in police custody, and that the Sheriff’s Office was anticipating “additional charges.”
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According to charging documents obtained by local newspaper The Commercial Appeal, Gardner has been charged with four counts of first degree murder in association with aggravated child abuse, four counts of first degree murder in association with aggravated child neglect and four counts each of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect or endangerment. According to Reuters, Gardner will not be arraigned until Tuesday due to Monday’s holiday, so she has yet to enter a plea.
The charging documents also reveal that the four children “were found deceased upon deputies’ arrival” at the Greens of Irene apartment complex and that Gardner was apprehended at the scene.
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Oldham identified the children as a 4 1/2-year-old boy and three girls aged 3 years old, 2 years old and 6 months old. The sheriff could not release the children’s names until their next of kin had been notified.
Another of Gardner’s children, a 7-year-old, was not harmed and is being held in protective custody, Oldham said.
The sheriff said his office is investigating whether any previous reports of domestic violence had come from the household. The Commercial Appeal reported Friday that the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services had no reports of violence involving the family.
“It was a terrible act, an egregious act,” Gardner said. “It has shocked our community and it has shocked our staff to the core.”