Bail is set at $1.2 million today for the pregnant mother who is facing attempted murder charges for driving a minivan carrying her three young children into the surf off a Florida beach.
Ebony Wilkerson, 32, has been charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder and three counts of child abuse in the incident.
On Tuesday Wilkerson drove her minivan into the ocean off of Dayton Beach.
A tourist’s video captured lifeguards and bystanders rushing to help pull the children, ages 3, 9 and 10, out of the van as it was being buffeted by waves in the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the children lowered the windows and the siblings yelled for help, attracting the bystanders, a sheriff’s office report said. Wilkerson told them “everyone was OK” but the children screamed that their mother was trying to kill them.
As water rushed into the minivan, Wilkerson left the vehicle with her children inside, the report said.
Wilkerson was placed in custody of the sheriff’s office Friday after she had been hospitalized for a mental evaluation since Tuesday. Her children were with the Department of Children and Families
Hours before driving into the ocean, Wilkerson had talked about demons when she left her sister’s house in Daytona Beach, a police report said. Her sister worriedly called Daytona Beach police.
After the call to dispatch, police officers stopped Wilkerson’s black Honda Odyssey and she expressed fear that her husband would be coming to Florida to harm her and her children.
The children were sitting quietly, smiling, and showed no signs of distress, the police report said.
“It was clear during my conversation that Wilkerson was suffering from some form of mental illness, but she was lucid and did not provide any signs that she met Baker Act requirements,” the Daytona Beach police officer said in the report.
The Florida Mental Health Act, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows authorities to involuntarily take people into custody if they seem to be a threat to themselves.