Ebony Wilkerson (Source: Volusia County Corrections)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (FOX Carolina) -
A Florida sheriff said deputies have arrested a South Carolina mom accused of trying to kill her children by driving their minivan into the Atlantic Ocean.
Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said they have arrested 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson, of Berkeley County, SC, charging her with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of child abuse causing great harm.
Johnson said the evidence shows Wilkerson drove into the surf and tried to interfere with rescuers trying to help her and her children, a 3-year-old girl, 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. Wilkerson is 27 and half weeks pregnant, deputies said.
He said Wilkerson told investigators she was trying to drive away from the surf but witnesses, the video and her children told a different story. He said her children said she was trying to kill them and her son even struggled with the steering wheel to keep her from driving into the ocean.
Johnson said the evidence shows it was an intentional act. He said Wilkerson told the children to close their eyes and go to sleep, she was taking herself and them to a better place. Deputies said the oldest child told investigators Wilkerson took them to the beach "so we could die."
"She definitely tried to kill her children," Johnson said.
According to Johnson, while there may be ongoing abuse in this case, it is not in their jurisdiction. He said deputies talked with the father and he told them he would be in Daytona Thursday to talk with investigators but he has yet to show up.
Officers had spoken with Wilkerson prior to the incident but Johnson said there was no evidence she was a danger to herself or the children, so they could not commit her under the Baker Act.
He said investigators know there were some prior domestic issues in South Carolina and New York, but there were no issues leading up Tuesday's incident that indicated any mental crisis at any time.
Johnson acknowledged the tragic nature of the event and said their goal is to get her into the system and to protect the children so she can get the help she needs.
"We sure don't want something like this happening again involving these children," Johnson said.
Wilkerson was taken into custody after she was released from the hospital and was booked into the Volusia County jail Friday. Johnson said the children remain in state custody.
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Thursday, August 28 2014 9:44 PM EDT2014-08-29 01:44:10 GMT
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