Officials have not yet released the ages of the children, but cops said they were “babies”. Shanynthia Gardner, 29, has now been charged with the killings.
Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham said: “This is an egregious act of evil that has shocked us to our core. Iwill never understand how anyone can do this.”
A seven-year-old is said to have escaped the killings at the gated community in Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States.
Shelby County assistant chief deputy Mark Dunbar said: “I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff in 33 years, but this is the worst.”
According to local newspaper The Commercial Appeal, she faces four counts of first degree murder associated with aggravated child abuse, four counts of first degree murder in association with aggravated child neglect, plus four more counts each of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect or endangerment.
Neighbour Patricia Johnson, burst into tears when she learned of the deaths. She said: “I can’t fathom that. What would babies do to make you do that?”
A spokesman for the Sheriff said: “A 911 call was placed from the scene that said a stabbing had taken place. Deputies got there and found four small children. They checked the pulse and found none.”
County Commissioner Mark Billingsley said the authorities would work to help the family of the children recover. He said: “It’s just a very sad day. It’s really beyond words, quite frankly.”
The state Department of Children’s Service said it had no record of interaction with the deceased children. Another resident Sean Ahearn said he often saw the “very open and friendly” children playing in the front yard.
He said they all appeared to be under age six and they liked to pet his dog.