MEMPHIS (UPI) — A Memphis, Tenn., woman was charged in the stabbing deaths of her four children ranging in age from 6 months to 4 years old.

Shanynthia Gardner, 29, is being held in the Shelby County jail, and faces five first-degree murder charges and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Gardner was arrested after she was found at her apartment Friday afternoon with “superficial cuts to her neck and wrists,” according to the arrest affidavit by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

The four children with “severe throat lacerations” were Yahzi, 6-months-old; Sya, 3; Sahvi, 2; and Tallen, 4. A witness told deputies he saw Gardner’s 7-year-old son, Dallen, run from the apartment to tell neighbors his mother stabbed his sister, the affidavit said. The witness said Gardner appeared to chase the boy with a large knife in her hand, only to turn around and go back into the apartment.

Deputies told FOX13 two of the children’s bodies were found in the living room area and two in a bedroom.

Deputies said they recovered a bloody butcher knife from the home.

The children’s father, Martin Gardner, spoke to Shanynthia at 12:50 p.m. on the phone and spoke about killing their four children, the affidavit said.

Gardner was a part-time employee at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, where she worked in the ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, in Cordova, according to an ALSAC spokesperson.

Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham told reporter Friday, “This is an egregious act of evil that has shocked us to our core.”

“I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff in 33 years, but this is the worst,” said Mark Dunbar, Shelby County assistant chief deputy.

Each year about 500 children in the United States are killed by their parents, said Dr. Phillip Resnick, a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, told the Commercial Appeal.

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