A Memphis woman who allegedly murdered four of her children by slitting their throats stayed silent at her court appearance on Tuesday, WREG reports.
Shanynthia “Yari” Gardner, 29, 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, according to USA Today.
Sarah Eddington, Gardner’s former co-worker, told The Commercial Appeal she was a nice woman who was happy with her family life.
“Yari was a sweet individual who loved her family,” Eddington said. “I’m just not sure where things went wrong.”
Eddington told the Appeal that Gardner left her job shortly after she got into an argument with her boss.
“She obviously was dealing with something and people just turned a blind eye,” she said.
According to USA Today, on July 1, Gardner’s oldest child, a seven-year-old boy, escaped and ran out of the family apartment, yelling that his mother had stabbed his sister.
Neighbors reportedly saw Gardner appear with a large knife in her hand, then re-enter her home, WREG reports.
When authorities arrived at the apartment, they found two of Gardner’s children in the living room. Six-month-old Yahzi was dead in her baby carrier, while Sya, a 3-year-old, lay next to her. In the bedroom, police found Sahvi, 2, on a mattress and 4-year-old brother, Tallen, on the floor next to her.
Police found a large knife covered with blood at the scene and observed cuts on Gardner’s neck and wrists. WREG reports that Gardner called her husband, Martin Gardner, earlier in the day and admitted to killing their four children.
Authorities are exploring a motive, as well as claims of mental illness.
On March 19, 2015, WREG writes Gardner was reported missing days after telling her family someone was trying to harm her. The report says on March 16, she left work and picked up her children. She was later found at St. Francis Hospital Emergency Room.