Ebony Wilkerson drove her car with three young kids inside into the ocean in Florida, and family members now say the pregnant South Carolina woman may have lost touch with reality.
On Tuesday, police in Daytona Beach, Florida, received a call that someone was trying to drive into the surf at a nearby beach. They found 31-year-old Ebony Wilkerson driving the family’s black Honda Odyssey. Witnesses had been able to pull the children — ages 3, 9, and 10 — from the car before it fully submerged.
“The two in the back seat was crying, with their arms out saying, ‘Our mommy’s trying to kill us, please help,’ ” witness Tim Tesseneer told WESH.
Wilkerson told officers that she was worried her husband was coming to Florida to harm her and the children.
“When we spoke with her she was lucid,” said Police Chief Mike Chitwood. “The children were in the back seat, they were buckled in and were not in distress. Although the sergeant said she looked like she had some mental illness, she did not fit the criteria for going into custody under the Baker Act.”
But family members paint a different picture. Ebony’s sister told police that before the incident, Ebony was rambling about demons.
“Her sister had called dispatch and told them that she (Wilkerson) had been talking about demons that day before she left the house,” Chitwood said.
The story of Ebony Wilkerson is eerily similar to some other famous cases. In 1994, mother Susan Smith drowned her two young sons by pushing her car into a lake in South Carolina. Andrea Yates in 2001 drowned her five children the bathtub of her Houston home, telling police that Satan told her to do it.
Ebony Wilkerson is currently undergoing a mental evaluation. Police said it is too early to say if she will face criminal charges.