Four young children were found stabbed to death in an apartment complex near Memphis, Tennessee, authorities said, and their mother is in custody.
Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham called the incident “an outrageous act of evil” during a press conference Friday afternoon, and said investigators were looking into what could have prompted the deadly attack.
“It's a tragic scene and one that has shocked us to the core,” he told reporters outside the South East Shelby apartment where the children were found.
Deputies were called to the complex, about 20 miles east of Memphis, at 12:50 p.m. with the caller reporting that someone was being stabbed, Earl Farrell, spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office told BuzzFeed News.
The four children, who detectives described only as “babies,” were all found deceased by the time deputies arrived, Farrell said.
“They checked for pulses,” he said. “From what I gather, they were deceased when deputies got there.”
Law enforcement revealed little about the incident, but described the children as all under 6 years of age.
The mother, who was being questioned by detectives, is expected to be booked in county jail Friday, Farrell said.
“This is an egregious act of evil,” Oldham said. “I could never understand how anybody could do that.”
Oldham said the mother's name, and the identities of the children, would not be released until next of kin where notified.
No other people have been taken into custody, officials said.