A Southern California woman was charged Monday with three counts of murder following the deaths of her three young children days after she admitted in a jailhouse interview she killed them to "protect" them from their father.
Liliana Carrillo, 30, of Reseda, a city in northern Los Angeles County, is charged with killing her 3-year-old daughter Joanna, her 2-year-old son Terry and 6-month-old daughter Sierra, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office announced. She is accused of using a knife as a deadly weapon on her youngest daughter. Their causes of death have not been revealed.
"Our hearts go out to the family of these children who are coping with this tremendous loss," District Attorney George Gascón said. "My office has reached out to the survivors to offer trauma-informed services during these incredibly difficult times."
Carillo, in an interview with KGET-TV in Bakersfield last week, said she "drowned" her children on April 10 because they were being "abused" by their father.
"I didn’t want them to be further abused," she said, claiming she was also shielding them from a child sex ring. "I promised them when they were born that I was going to protect them and I already saw what was happening, I already knew what was going on and I knew what was going to continue to happen."
Carillo allegedly ran from the scene and was caught in another county.
Gascón didn’t file a multiple murder special circumstance that would have allowed prosecutors to seek life without parole because of the newly elected district attorney’s progressive policies barring filing a special circumstance in such cases, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The children’s father, Erik Denton, tried to get custody of the children earlier this year and criticized authorities and child welfare agencies for ignoring his warnings that Carillo was mentally unstable and the children weren’t safe with her, the Times reported.
"Twelve years of medical training doesn’t mean anything to these social workers and cops," Dr. Teri Miller, a physician and Denton’s cousin, said, according to The Times. "They ignored my warnings about the danger Liliana posed to the children. I don’t understand what was wrong with my message. I told them I was scared for the kids’ safety based on her mental condition and behavior."
She is being held in a Kern County jail in lieu of a $2-million bond for carjacking related to her escape attempt after the alleged murders, The Times reported.