Jason Karels allegedly drowned his kids in midst of divorce proceedings Jason Karels, 35, was charged in the deaths of his kids, Bryant, 5, Cassidy, 3, and Gideon, 2, at his suburban Chicago home
The tragedy was discovered when cops made a welfare check on the home located in Round lake Beach, about 1:40 p.m. Monday
His estranged wife, Debra Karels, was supposed to pick up the children after they had spent the weekend with their dad
She was unable to reach him so she asked police to conduct a wellness check at the residence
Karels had fled the home, but cops later spotted and chased him down, until he crashed in Joliet
One relative revealed that Jason “had severe mental issues and refused to get help”
An Illinois father allegedly drowned his three children before trying to take his own life and leading authorities on a police chase, cops said.
Jason Karels, 35, was charged in the deaths of his kids, Bryant, 5, Cassidy, 3, and Gideon, 2, at his suburban Chicago home on East Camden Lane in Round Lake Beach, the Chicago Tribune reported.
His estranged wife, Debra Karels, was supposed to pick up the children after they had spent the weekend with their dad, but she was unable to reach him so she asked police to conduct a wellness check at the residence about 1:40 p.m. Monday, ABC 7 Chicago reported.
When officers arrived, they discovered the young victims in the bedroom.
Officials said that preliminary autopsies found that the children died from drowning.
Jason had left the deadly scene in his red Nissan Maxima, which state troopers later noticed on Interstate 57. They gave chase until the car crashed off Interstate 80 in Joliet, where the father was arrested.
“After the crash, Karels made statements to police officers involved in the chase and wearing body-worn cameras indicating he was responsible for the deaths of the children at the Round Lake Beach home,” Round Lake Beach Police Chief Gilbert Rivera said, according to ABC 7.
“He also said he attempted to commit suicide several times after the deaths of the children but was unsuccessful during these attempts,” he said.
Officials said the couple was estranged and may have been sharing custody of their children. The motive for the crime remains under investigation.
“I don’t know that anything could’ve stopped this or if there were any early indications of it. As I mentioned, we were not familiar with this family nor with the house,” the police chief added.
After being hospitalized briefly, Jason was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was held on three counts of first-degree murder.
Rivera told CBS Chicago that investigators were not immediately aware of any cases of abuse involving the children, and if Jason had a history of mental illness or a criminal background.
But Debra’s sister-in-law told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Jason “had severe mental issues and refused to get help.”
“Unfortunately, there was domestic abuse in their relationship and Debbie was finally getting the strength to leave him and proceed with a divorce,” Christina Neuman Berg, who is married to Debra’s brother, told the outlet.
“But Debbie wanted to maintain a relationship with her kids’ father and let him visit them, and now we know that was a horrible mistake,” she said.
The distraught mother told The Daily Beast that the last time she spoke with her kids was late Sunday, when they seemed “happy.”
“They were excited to hear from me. They were excited to chat,” Debra told the outlet.
“They were not doing anything special, they just seemed excited that I was going to pick them up the next morning.”
She continued: “I am just in disbelief. You never think something like this is going to happen to you. I never thought he would do this to his kids.
“But now I know, if you have any inkling of doubt, don’t ignore it and stick to your guns,” Debra said, adding that she had recently started divorce proceedings after leaving Jason.
She said she had agreed to his demands for visitation despite a little voice in the head after he told her he would “never hurt the kids.”
“He said ‘all my beef is with you,’” Debra said, adding that he also mentioned the possibility of joining the family on a doctor’s visit Monday.
She broke down in tears as she described her dead children.
Bryant was a “very, very smart” kid and avid video gamer who looked forward to starting kindergarten this year, she told The Daily Beast.
“He used to say, ‘Don’t worry mommy, I’ll always take care of you,’” Debra said.
Cassidy was a “little middle child” who Debra believed would protect her brothers, while Gideon “was a sweet little momma’s boy” who loved dinosaurs and Mickey Mouse, she added.
Lake County Board member Dick Barr helped establish a GoFundMe page that has raised over $65,100 of the $100,000 target, as of Wednesday afternoon, for the mother.
“This tragedy happened in my own neighborhood, and I need to make certain that this mother has everything she needs to not have to worry about money at this terrible time,” he wrote.
In a previous post, he wrote that “tragedy pierced the barrier between tv news and our own hometown and back yards. Three young and innocent souls were taken from this earth by unspeakable evil.
“That unspeakable evil existed in the heart and mind of the man who so heinously took the lives of three of his own children,” Barr wrote.
“This was not a criminal act that is emblematic of who we are or where we live, rather a selfish soul, void of humanity, void of compassion, void of mental well being, who cared more about himself then he did about his own children,” he added.