A woman in California accused of killing her three children, all under the age of 5, admitted to murdering them during an interview with a Los Angeles television station.
Liliana Carrillo told KGET-TV in a jailhouse interview she drowned the children because she didn’t want them “to be further abused” by their father and wanted to “protect” them.
The 30-year-old Hispanic woman had custody over the children at the time of the murder and was in a dispute over them—Joanna, 3; Terry, 2; and Sierra, 6 months—with the father, identified as Erik Denton of Porterville.
“I drowned them,” Carrillo told a reporter from the TV network in a nearly 30-minute-long interview.
“I know they’re not going to be hurt anymore, that’s all that matters to me,” she later added.
The maternal grandmother of the suspect reported to police on April 10 she found the children dead inside Carrillo’s apartment on Reseda Blvd in Los Angeles.
“LA City Fire Department personnel pronounced all three children deceased at scene,” the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed on the night of the incident in a post on Twitter.
Police also said Carrillo allegedly committed a carjacking after committing the murder and was driving in a stolen silver Toyota pickup before she was captured later that day. She was taken into custody in Tulare County, nearly 200 miles north of the scene.
Liliana Carrillo has been taken into custody in the Ponderosa area of Tulare County. https://t.co/AhMdgVTG9d
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) April 10, 2021
According to a FOX 11 report, she appeared in a Bakersfield court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty in connection with the carjacking. She also hasn’t been charged in the children’s deaths yet, but a judge set her bail at $2 million after Kern County Assistant District Attorney Joseph Kinzel argued she was a flight risk.
The children’s father had petitioned for custody over the children in February because he was fearful for the safety of his children, alleging Carrillo was delusional and had taken the children and wouldn’t tell him where they were.
“Her condition has worsened,” Denton wrote in court records obtained by Mercury News. “She is not taking care of herself and has lost touch with reality. She is extremely paranoid and acts impulsively and erratically.”
Carrillo, in turn, filed a restraining order against him and claimed Denton was an alcoholic who may have sexually abused their eldest child. She also accused him of being part of a pedophile ring, claiming he allowed other people to molest her three-year-old daughter.
No charges have been filed against the father, and authorities haven’t released any information related to Carrillo’s claims.
However, according to texts and social media posts obtained by authorities, Carrillo has written things in the past like “I wish I never had kids” while also making threatening posts that she wants to commit suicide.
During the jailhouse interview, she told KGET-TV that she tried to drive off a cliff on the day of the murder incident, but her car became stuck. She then instead stole the vehicle from people who tried to save her.
It is unclear if the stolen vehicle Carrillo referred to is related to the information released by Los Angeles authorities regarding a Toyota pickup.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.