The beginning of the holiday weekend brought shocking news.
4-year old Tallen Gardner, 3-year-old Sya Garner, 2-year-old Sahvi Gardner and 6-month-old Yahzi Gardner were all stabbed to death in their southeast Memphis home Friday.
The mourning over those four young lives continues and so does the investigation into this tragedy.
Three days later, the community is struggling to understand how a mother could take the lives of her children in such a heinous act.
This is a sad story none of us will soon forget but mental health professionals said there are often red flags that could prevent situations like these from happening.
“I was praying for that mom whoever she was knowing that she needed help,” said Sonya Clayton.
Clayton learned the mother she was seeing on news media, who was being accused of stabbing her four children to death—was her grandson’s mother Shanynthia Gardner.
Clayton’s grandson survived by running from the apartment at the Greens at Irene for help.
Neither Clayton nor Gardner’s friends could imagine the mother killing her own children.
“I truly believe someone should’ve stopped in I’m not completely sure if the people that she was around recognized the science if there were signs I’m not completely sure I didn’t recognize any signs,” said Jerome Smith.
“For a mother to be able to execute in such a methodical way her children, something so severely wrong that you have to take a step back and realize that this is someone who is clearly suffering from something very acute,” said Dr. Earina Schuass, professor at the University of Memphis mental health clinic.
Doctor Schauss said even though details of this case aren’t clear, there are things people can look out for red flags which can include changes in behaviors even paranoia.
“I think it raises awareness the importance of mental health and how many women out there are struggling with post peripartum, psychosis, depression all of these issues that potentially could have caused an episode like that.”
Shelby County leaders are reminding people there are services to help families that might be facing concerns where the outcomes could turn to fatal like the deaths of the four Gardner children.