Ebony Wilkerson, the pregnant mother who drove a minivan filled with her children into the ocean earlier this week, has been booked into jail with attempted murder and child abuse charges.
On Wednesday, Wilkerson drove her minivan into the Silver Beach surf, which is in Daytona Beach.
According to two of the men who rescued her and the kids, two of Wilkerson 's three children who were in the van were screaming at them from inside the vehicle that their mother was trying to kill them.
Wilkerson was taken into custody and given a mental heath examination. She had also reportedly talked to her family about there being demons in her home prior to the incident, and was once involved in an unrelated accident in Daytona that led to the death of a woman.
Volusia County Sheriff Ben F. Johnson says that officials have enough evidence, including from an interview conducted with Wilkerson by officials following the incident, to show that she did indeed try to murder her children.
"She definitely tried to kill her children from everything we have seen," the sheriff said, per the Palm Beach Post. "We sure don't want something like this happening again."
"It's a very disappointing thing because you're supposed to protect your children at all costs," the sheriff continued. "You're not supposed to be trying to kill your children. And that disappoints me greatly. And it's not only here, it's everywhere.
Officials say that Wikerson, 31, told them that she was "taking them to a better place" when she drove her minivan into the ocean. For her part, Wilkerson is denying that she tried to harm her children, and is saying she was trying to drive out of the surf when her vehicle ended up in the water.
According to witnesses at the scene, however, Wilkerson was driving along the shore when she made a sharp left turn into the water.
As can be seen in a video shot by a passerby, two men are seen charging toward the submerged minivan, fighting through wind and waves.
At one point, the men attempt to rescue a small child from the van's hatchback.
During the rescue, Wilkerson is seen walking out and away from the minivan with her child still inside. She also appears to be disoriented.
The children, ages 3, 9, and 10, were all rescued and taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
"She told [the kids]'close your eyes and go to sleep,' she was taking them to a better place,'" Sheriff Johnson said.
"She's talking about Jesus, that there's demons in the house," Wilkerson's sister told WESH. "She's got the kids in the car with her."
According to police, Wilkerson had expressed that she was afraid her ex-husband would find and hurt her and her children. She also told officials that she was going to her "safe place" that she worked out with a domestic violence shelter. Her family was never told of where this safe place was.
Even more tragic, the Palm Beach Post reports that Wilkerson was once involved in a fatal accident in 2007 in Daytona:
That day, an Ebony Wilkerson of Delray Beach was northbound on Interstate 95 when she switched lanes and hit the rear of a Nissan driven by a Fort Lauderdale man, Douglas Krane. Krane lost control of the car as it traveled across several lanes and slammed into a concrete barrier. Krane was not harmed, but his 35-year-old wife Jennifer Krane was taken to Delray Medical Center with critical injuries, The Palm Beach Post reported that day. Jennifer Krane died several days later.
Details about any citation in the case were not immediately available.
Wilkerson is now facing three counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.