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Mom who drove van filled with kids into the ocean charged with attempted murder

Ebony Wilkerson, 32, a pregnant mother from South Cross, S.C., made national headlines earlier this week when she drove her minivan into the ocean at Daytona Beach, Fla. in an alleged attempt to kill herself and her three young children - ages three, nine, and 10-years-old.

The mom told her kids to ‘close their eyes, she was taking them 'to a better place.'
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

USA Today reported that Wilkerson was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and and three charges of child abuse causing great bodily harm on Friday, March 7. Also on Friday, Wilkerson was reportedly undergoing a mental health evaluation.

Volusia County Sheriff, Ben Johnson, shared a spine tingling statement from the rescued children.

As Wilkerson was driving her minivan into the ocean, the kids said their mother told them to close their eyes. She was “going to take them to a better place."

Johnson said Wilkerson's son was fighting for control of the wheel as rescuers made their way into the vehicle. He said the mother also tried to prevent a rescuer from coming through the window.

Wilkerson and her children are fortunate to have survived the ordeal, as Wilkerson had all the minivan doors locked.

Earlier on that same day, Wilkerson’s sister, Jessica Harrell, called 911 in an effort to try and get help for her troubled sibling.

"Her husband beat on her, so she came down to my house from South Carolina," Harrell told the dispatcher.

"She's talking about Jesus, that there are demons in my house, that I'm trying to control her, but I'm trying to keep them safe."

Wilkerson’s alleged attempt to drown herself and her children was all caught on video, as was the dramatic rescue of her children from that minivan as it bounced around in the rough ocean waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Good Samaritans and Daytona Beach personnel that were on the scene, rushed into the rough surf in a frantic and successful attempt to rescue the family.

One of the rescuers, Tim Tesseneer of Rutherfordton, N.C., said, "I don't want to think about what would have happened ... and that water got a hold of that van and it just pulled it out."

Volusia County officials say the outcome would have been tragic if the rescuers had been only 10 minutes later in reaching the vehicle.

Today, Wilkerson appeared before a Fla. judge who set the pregnant mother’s bond at $1.2 million.

For more on the charges lodged against Ebony Wilkerson, see the video accompanying this article.

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