A mom drove her van into the waves of the ocean Tuesday off the coast of Daytona Beach in Florida, attempting to kill her three young children because she allegedly heard voices from demons that instructed her to do so.
According to CNN on Wednesday, mother of three Ebony Wilkerson, 32, of Cross. S.C., who is also pregnant with a fourth child, is undergoing a mental health evaluation after she and her three children were pulled to safety by witnesses that rushed into the ocean’s strong surf to save the family.
Tim Tesseneer, a North Carolina truck driver and former volunteer firefighter, was one of the first men to reach Wilkerson’s vehicle, which quickly started to take on water and sink. He and other good Samaritans dove in and rescued the children – ages 3, 9 and 10 – before the car was swept out and sunk by the ocean’s current.
Tesseneer said that when he approached the vehicle in the water, he could hear the kids screaming out, “Help us! Our mom is trying to kill us!”
The children and mother were not injured, and after being checked at the hospital, the kids were remanded to state custody while investigators review the incident.
Witness Taylor Quintin, visiting from Vermont, said: “We thought it was so brave of them to put themselves in danger to help someone else in such an emergency.”
Tesseneer says Wilkerson at first was only diving her vehicle on the beach, evidently thought to be just joyriding. He approached her to see why they were illegally driving on the dunes.
“It looked like they were just having fun – 'hey, look at us, we're breaking the law,' whatever,” he said. “Then we got to hearing kids sort of screaming, and I swear I heard I heard one of them say, ‘Help!’”
Tesseneer said Wilkerson looked at him with a “blank, scary look” and said “We're OK. We're going to be fine.”
Then she took off and drove straight into the ocean.
Police traced the woman’s actions back to a 911 call (audio) released Wednesday from Wilkerson’s sister, who told dispatchers that Ebony had fled South Carolina with her three kids because she was being abused by her husband.
She was “talking about Jesus and that there's demons in my house and that I'm trying to control her,” the sister said. “She's, like, having psychosis or something.”