LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) – Two women who police say killed two children while performing what they thought was an exorcism in January have been indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on first-degree murder charges.

The women, 28-year-old Zakieya Latrice Avery and 21-year-old Monifa Denise Sanford, told investigators that they believed evil spirits moved successively between the bodies of Avery’s children, a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old. Two older siblings were also found injured inside the Germantown home with stab wounds and could have died if a neighbor hadn’t called 911.

Avery and Sanford claimed an exorcism was needed to “drive the demons out.”

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The women also reported seeing the eyes of each of the children blackening and after the intended exorcism, took a shower, cleaned up the scene and “prepared the children to see God,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said following an investigation.

The women identified themselves as members of a group called “Demon Assassins,” police say.

Avery and Sanford are being held without bond.

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