Shanynthia Gardner has been 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 in the deaths of her three daughters and one son —ages 4,3,2 and 6-months-old.
This horrible tragedy occurred at Gardner’s home, the Greens at Irene Apartments, located in Memphis, Tennessee. She stabbed four of her five children. The oldest, a son, age 7, managed to escape. According to WREG, first responders discovered 6-month-old Yahzi Gardner sitting in her baby carrier and her sister, 3-year-old Sya Gardner, lying next to her dead. Both had severe lacerations to their throats. Four-year-old Tallen Gardner and 2-year-old Sahvi Gardner were found in a bedroom. Tallen was on the floor while his little sister was on the bed with the same wounds.
Gardner, 29, was a part-time employee of ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. When paramedics arrived, she had cuts to her neck and wrists.
Her surviving 7-year-old son Dallen is from a previous marriage to Detrail Clayton. She is currently married to Martin Gardner to whom she allegedly admitted she did the killings.
Mark Billingsley, police commissioner for Memphis stated: “We lost four children today on a weekend when we should be celebrating independence. I hope the community will embrace this family.”
Sheriff Bill Oldham adds, “One of the most difficult questions in any investigation always is ‘why?’ It’s a tragic scene and one that shocked us to our core.”
No record of mental illness for Gardner has been revealed.
Sonya Clayton, the grandmother of seven-year-old Dallen Clayton, says her son Detrail is taking this hard. He has not seen or spoken to his son at the time of this writing. He is under protective supervision.
Gardner is expected to be in court on July 5.