DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A South Carolina mother accused of driving a van with three children inside into the ocean has been charged with three counts of attempted first degree murder.
WFTV reported that 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson told her children — ages 3, 9 and 10 — to “go to sleep” and that she was “taking them to a better place.”
A group of people ran to the van and rescued the pregnant suspect and three children after their minivan went into the ocean at Daytona Beach on Tuesday.
Lifeguards were able to get everyone from the vehicle before it became fully submerged.
In video taken by a tourist from Canada, the suspect can be seen outside the van in the water as lifeguards try to pull her children out. Waves nearly pushed her under the van.
Later in the video, a lifeguard walks out of the surf with two children in his arms. As the van starts to go under the water, another lifeguard climbs out of the vehicle with the third child.
The suspect and the three children were taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons.
Wilkerson had recently filed a police report alleging her husband had assaulted her days before Wilkerson drove the minivan into the ocean.
“My sister was getting abused by her husband I tried to take her to the hospital yesterday. She signed herself out today. She’s getting a little bit better but she’s still not all here so she’s trying to drive and I’m trying to stop her,” said Wilkerson’s sister, Jessica Harrell, in a 911 call.
“She’s talking about Jesus, that there are demons in my house, that I’m trying to control her, but I’m trying to keep them safe,” said Harrell during the call.
Read more: WFTV