A Memphis mother of 5 made national headlines this week after she committed the most horrible, inexpiable act of murder imaginable. The young mother slaughtered 4 of her 5 children, all were under the age of 5. Shanynthia Gardner’s oldest child, Dallen 7, was able to escape the young mother’s homicidal rampage.
The police were called to the house of 29 -year-old Shanynthia Gardner in southeast Shelby County, Tenn. Friday afternoon. Sadly when police arrived they found six-month old Yahzi; Sya, 3; Sahvi, 2; and 4-year-old Tallen already deceased, with severe throat lacerations. 29-year-old Gardner herself had superficial cuts to her neck and wrists as if she had tried to harm herself as well. A witness reported to the officers that 7-year-old Dallen ran from the house screaming that his mom had stabbed his sister. The neighbor observed Gardner exit her apartment building holding a large knife momentarily before returning inside. A large bloody butcher knife was found in the kitchen
Two of the children were found in the living room, Yahzi, in her baby carrier and Sya lying next it. The two other deceased children were found in a bedroom. Gardner more than likely would have killed Dallen too had the young child not fled the apartment.
Shortly after police arrived at the Gardner home her husband, Martin Gardner, the father of the slain children was able to speak with Shanynthia; she admitted to killing their children. Dallen, the 7-year-old who escaped is the son of another man, Gardner’s ex husband, Detrail Clayton. Clayton’s mother, the grandmother of the only surviving child, says she forgives the young mother. “I forgive her,” said Clayton. “I know this was not her. I know this was the work of the devil. I love Shanynthia wholeheartedly still.”
“This is a terrible act, an egregious act that has shocked, I believe, the community, and has shocked our staff to the core,” Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham has said in response to the devastating murders.
Shanynthia Gardner has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder while committing aggravated child abuse; four counts of aggravated child neglect or endangerment; and four counts of aggravated child abuse. Gardner will be arraigned Tuesday and is currently being held without bond.
The murders come as a serious shock to those who know Gardner who they say has behaved strangely over the last few months but shown no signs of mental illness. Department of Children Services have never been called for the family before. Why she committed such a horrific act is still a mystery that only she can answer.
Dallen, the only survivor of the attack has been in the custody of CPS since Friday’s murder. His father is eager to see him and hopes he is released into the custody of family soon. A candlelight vigil was held outside the apartment complex Saturday in memory of the four innocents lives taken much too soon at the hands of the person they trusted most.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover the burial cost for the 4 children.