A South Carolina pregnant woman drove her minivan with three children inside into the ocean at Daytona Beach.
This mom of three took extreme measures to try and take the lives of herself and her children by driving directly into an ocean in Daytona, Florida.
Ebony Wilkerson, 32, has been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, authorities in Florida said Friday. Wilkerson was also charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse.
The children – a 3-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were taken to a hospital but not seriously hurt, and are in protective custody.
Investigators said that the woman had tried to stop the rescuers from helping the children. They said that one witness reported seeing one child on Wilkerson’s lap, fighting her for control of the wheel. The 10-year-old later told investigators that their mother took them to the beach “so we could die,” the sheriff’s department said.
Wilkerson, who is more than six months pregnant, was removed Friday from a hospital, where she had been undergoing mental health evaluation, and was on her way to jail, the sheriff said.
“You’re supposed to protect your children at all costs,” the sheriff said. “You’re not supposed to be trying to kill your children.”
It’s unclear why the woman, a tourist from South Carolina drove her vehicle into the surf shortly before 5 p.m. The van carried her three children, ages 3, 9 and 10.
Rescuers claim that when they rushed to help the children out of the van, the kids were screaming for help and saying their mommy was trying to kill them.
One witness stated that when he tried to help the mother out of the front seat of the van, she wouldn’t move. She just sat there and stared blankly ahead without any concern. When two of the small children were pulled from the car they told the rescuers that there was also a baby in the car, which sent them back into the ocean to find the third child.
“She (the mother) wouldn’t say a word. She didn’t tell us nothing about a baby,” one witness told a local news reporter.
Daytona Beach police chief said they received a call from her sister who was worried about her. His officers stopped the minivan and Wilkerson answered all the questions right. His officers had no probable cause to arrest her.
Update 08/30/2015: Ebony Wilkerson: ‘I didn’t realize the seriousness of it’ More info on this situation is here on theorlandosentinal.com .