As a community struggles to make sense of the brutal murder of four young children, disturbing new details have emerged regarding their mother and killer, 29-year-old Shanynthia Gardner.
The four children killed Friday in a suburb of Memphis, TN ranged from age 6 months to 4 years old. They all had the same father, Shanynthia's current husband, Martin Gardner.
Martin has since been questioned by police, but was not home during the time of the murders.
The children's throats were slashed with a butcher knife, which was recovered at the scene. Shanynthia, who had her own superficial wounds to her throat and wrists, made a full confession.
Despite all that occurred, her former mother-in-law Sonya Clayton has forgiven Shanynthia for her grisly crimes, calling her a "beautiful, sweet young lady."
"I forgive her," she told The Commercial Appeal. "I know this was not her. I know this was the work of the devil. I love Shanynthia wholeheartedly still."
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The lone survivor of the attack was 7-year-old Dallen Clayton, who is Shanynthia's child from a previous relationship.
Dallen ran from his home to a neighbor's residence when his mother began attacking his sister.
"He is safe and in a place of protection until next of kin can be notified," the local Sheriff said.
However, his Sonya insists that their family is ready to welcome him home.
"Dallen, wherever you are, your dad loves you, your brothers love you," she said in a message to her grandson. "We love you and we are looking for you."
While police have not yet released a motive for the killings, Shanynthia, who had recently given birth to her youngest child, had disappeared back in March amid complaints of unbearable stress.
If you or someone you know is suffering from Postpartum Depression, please contact a mental health professional immediately.