Memphis mom who killed her children: 4 things we now know

A mother is accused of killing four of her children Friday in Tennessee. A fifth child was able to escape.

Here are four things we know now:

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What happened?

Shanynthia Gardner, 29, admitted to the fatal stabbings while talking to her husband, Martin Gardner, on the phone just minutes after committing the crimes, according to an affidavit obtained by FOX13.

Gardner, according to the affidavit, stabbed four of her children – all under the age of 5 – in the throat area, leaving them to die.

Two of the children’s bodies were found in the living room area and the other two bodies were found in a bedroom, lying motionless on the floor.

A 7-year-old was able to escape in hopes of getting help for his siblings before it was too late.

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What is known about the mother?

Gardner had cuts to her neck and wrists when deputies arrived at the scene around 12:40 p.m. Friday.

She was charged with four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of child abuse and four counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect.

“That was a beautiful sweet young lady,” Sonya Clayton said, talking about her daughter-in-law she remembers. “What happened? I don't know. I know Shanynthia – this is the work of the devil.”

Clayton added:

"I know this is not Shanynthia, and I pray (for) and love Shanynthia wholeheartedly still. I'm praying for her.”

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What about the children?

There were five children at the apartment at the time of the stabbings. Three girls and a 4-year-old boy were killed. The girls ranged in age from 6 months old to less than 4 years old.

A 7-year-old boy was able to escape.

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And the child who escaped and survived?

The well-being of Dallen is a mystery at this point, according to Sonya Clayton, the boy’s grandmother. However, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the child is in a safe place.

"I want Dallen, I need Dallen,” Clayton told WHBQ. “I need to know what's going with Dallen. They are giving us the run around – I don't understand.”

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