Posted Jan. 10, 2008 – The 33-year-old woman who led U.S. Marshals into her southeast D.C. home to serve an eviction notice is now charged with murder.
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Banita Jacks, 33, the mother of the four girls – ages 5, 7, 9 and 17 – found side-by-side on the second floor, is being charged with two counts of murder. The bodies were so badly decomposed they could not be positively identified.
"At this time we cannot positively identify them," said D.C. chief medical examiner Dr. Marie Pierre-Louis. "We have some possible causes of death. One child, the oldest one, we think may have sustained some stab wounds to the abdomen. The other three children – there is a possibility of asphyxia or poisioning."
Relatives say the Jacks may have had some mental health problems, and neighbors confirmed their story, telling Washington-area TV station WJLA ABC7 that she had exhibited strange behavior.
Jacks reportedly had been living with a man who was the father of two of the children. He died in April of cancer, and she had been struggling to raise them.
"Nobody knew the family," Jessica Joynes told ABC 7. "The family, they moved there the summer before last, the beginning of last summer. Nobody knew that family, so it was like how was anybody supposed to know what’s going on. Nobody knew that family."
D.C. Child and Family Services tried several times last April to investigate concerns about the family after a report about child abuse and neglect, the station reported. When they tried again in early May, they were no longer living at the address.