A 23-year-old woman was stabbed several times and killed yesterday while she was taking care of three small children at her home in a quiet Silver Spring garden apartment development. None of the children was reported injured.

The victim, identified as Marie Workman, was the mother of one of the three children, all of whom were less than 3 years old, Montgomery County police said.

They said Workman's body was found about 5:30 p.m. in the apartment at 11389 Columbia Pike when the mother of one of the other two children came to pick up the child, according to Montgomery County police.

In preliminary accounts of the incident, police declined to release the name of the woman who found the body, or of the parent of the other child for whom the victim was caring.

Detectives were continuing to interview residents of the apartment development, the Oak Hill Apartments, late last night.

Police said the victim's body was found on the floor in a back bedroom. Preliminary investigation showed that the victim had suffered "multiple stab wounds." Police did not specify the cause of the woman's death, and said that her body was to be taken to the Maryland state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Several residents of the complex who live within yards of the victim's apartment said they saw and heard nothing unusual yesterday. Many learned that something was amiss only when they saw the arrival of what they said were as many as 10 or 11 police cars.

"Nobody seemed to know . . . . Nothing like this has ever happened," said one woman who lived in the development for about 10 years. She called the development quiet and well managed.