The Maranatha Brethren Church, a Grace Brethren church in Hagerstown, Md., has made the news as information has become known about two women who allegedly killed two children and injured two others in an apparent exorcism. The incident took place in Germantown, Md., which is about 45 miles from Hagerstown. Apparently, one of the women, Zakyeia Avery, attended the Maranatha Church in 2011. Dan Thornton, pastor of the church, was interviewed on USA Today’s website. The video appears below, along with a brief section of the story. The church was also mentioned on a broadcast on WHAG in Hagerstown. That story, Montgomery County “Exorcism” Murder Has Local Ties, may be found here.
Pastor: Exorcism never brought up by mom
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WUSA9) – A former family pastor says exorcism was never brought up.
The Germantown woman accused of killing her two children and trying to kill her other two children sought help from a Hagerstown church a few years ago because the family had no money.
Zakieya Avery, 28, and Monifa Sanford, 21, are charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Pastor Dan Thornton of Maranatha Brethren Church says the Harris family moved to Hagerstown with the prospect of a new job .
But when that job fell through, the family had no income and no car in September of 2011.
“We met them at a time of need. What makes this shocking is Kiya loved these kids,” Thornton said. “They were confident and happy kids. You get a feel if kids are abused that did not fit these children.”