The father of the one child who survived the horrific attack by Memphis mother Shanynthia Gardner (which claimed the lives of her four other children) has spoken out about his ex.
Detrail Clayton, who has a 7-year-old son, Dallen, with Gardner, told The Commercial Appeal that he has no idea how such a tragedy could have taken place.
"The lady who committed this crime is not the lady I know, the lady I had a child with," said Clayton of his 29-year-old ex. "I just feel like she was going through something. When the doors close, you never know what a person is going through. It's an act of evil. I don't know what she's got into."
As Us Weekly reported previously, 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.
Her eldest son, Dallen, escaped the apartment where his half siblings were allegedly killed by Gardner with a butcher’s knife before she turned the weapon on herself. All four children had "severe throat lacerations" while their mother received only "superficial cuts to her neck and wrists," according to an affidavit. Dallen was apparently unharmed.
Detrail, 32, met Gardner when they were in middle school. She was his cousin's best friend, and their relationship started as friends. By the time the pair started dating, Detrail already had two children from another relationship and Gardner raised them as her own before adding their own baby, Dallen, to their family in 2008.
Detrail described his ex as a "wonderful, sweet young lady. Very talented. She was an aspiring singer. She was very good at songwriting and had a voice. She was into modeling, anything that was in front a camera," he said.
After he split with Gardner and she met her husband, things started to turn sour between them.
"I started seeing a difference. I wasn't even allowed to be in my child's life," Detrail, who hasn't seen his son since 2014, says. "It was a bunch of chaos, really. If I made any attempts to call or reach out, it never ended well. It changed drastically,” he added.
"She was a lovely lady. I don't understand what's going on right now."
Sonya Clayton, Detrail's mother, and grandmother to Dallen, told local news stations on Saturday, July 2, that she forgives her son’s ex.
"I’m still shocked, in disbelief,” Clayton told 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.”
“I forgive her,” she added. “I know this was not her. I love Shanynthia wholeheartedly still.”
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!