Grandmother of 7-Year-Old Stabbing Survivor Forgives Memphis Mom Who Killed Four Kids: ‘I Know This Was the Work of the Devil’

Forgiveness in her heart. Sonya Clayton, the grandmother of the lone survivor of Shanynthia Gardner’s stabbing attack, in which the Memphis, Tennessee, mother killed four of her own children, told local news stations on Saturday, July 2, that she forgives Gardner.

“I’m still shocked, in disbelief,” Clayton told local news station Fox 13 Memphis. “That was a beautiful sweet young lady. What happened? I don’t know. I know Shanynthia — this is the work of the devil.”

Sonya Clayton, Shanynthia Gardner
Sonya Clayton, the grandmother of Shanynthia Gardner’s 7-year-old son. WSB-TV

“I forgive her,” she added. “I know this was not her. … I love Shanynthia wholeheartedly still.”

Clayton is the grandmother of 7-year-old Dallen Clayton, the one child who was able to escape Gardner’s killing spree on Friday, July 1. According to USA Today, Gardner, 29, has known Clayton’s son — Dallen’s father — since they were in the eighth grade.

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On Saturday night, Clayton and about 30 other people, including neighbors, family friends and law enforcement officials, gathered for a vigil at the Greens at Irene apartment complex where the four children were killed.

There, they prayed for the four children who were stabbed to death, holding red and white candles in remembrance of the young victims, Tallen Gardner, 4, and his three sisters, Sya, 3, Sahvi, 2, and Yahzi, 6 months.

Shanynthia Gardner
Shanynthia Gardner, the Memphis mom accused of murdering her children. WREG/Facebook

As previously reported, Gardner has been charged with four counts of first degree murder while committing aggravated child abuse, four counts of first degree murder while committing aggravated child neglect, four counts of aggravated child abuse and four counts of aggravated child neglect or endangerment.

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On Friday, the mother made headlines when she killed her four young children by slashing their throats in their apartment, and then turning the knife on herself.

The Associated Press reports that Gardner called her husband, Martin Gardner, and told him that she had killed four of their five children.

When police arrived at the Gardner home, they found the children with “severe lacerations” on their throats and cuts on Shanynthia’s neck and wrists. They also found a large butcher knife with what appeared to be blood on it. (According to USA Today, Shanynthia had allegedly chased Dallen around the apartment with the butcher knife.)

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Clayton told Fox 13, she just wants to make sure her grandson is OK, though she hasn’t been allowed to see him.

“I want Dallen, I need Dallen,” she told the news station. “I need to know what’s going on with Dallen. They are giving us the runaround — I don’t understand.”

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