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Father Accused Of Drowning His Children During Custodial Visit | “If I Can’t Have Them, Neither Can You”

Father Accused Of Drowning His Children During Custodial Visit | “If I Can’t Have Them, Neither Can You”

"My children were absolutely amazing. They were three beautiful little souls that didn't deserve this," the mother said.

A 35-year-old man from Illinois is accused of drowning his three children during a custody visit. He allegedly wrote a note to his wife saying, "If I can't have them, neither can you."

The note was addressed at a bond hearing for Jason E. Karels, 35, of Round Lake Beach, who is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Bryant Karels, 5, Cassidy Karels, 3, and Gideon Karels, 2, reports CBS News. Prosecutors claimed officers who went to his house to check on the children's wellbeing discovered the message.

His wife Debra Karels told CBS Chicago, "The most important thing to me were the kids, and he knew that. He knew that nothing mattered but those children, and he took them away from me, because he knew that would hurt me the most." She added, "My children were absolutely amazing. They were three beautiful little souls that didn't deserve this." 

 



 

 

Debra discovered her children's lifeless bodies on a bed when she went to pick them up after they spent the weekend with her estranged husband. Prosecutors claim Jason confessed on tape to drowning each of his children, one at a time, in the bathtub of his Round Lake Beach house. 

Debra had taken the kids to see their father over the weekend. She said, "I thought what was right was the father should be involved. The father should see them." She added, "I just had so much faith; so much faith, so much love that it would all work out in the end, and it didn't."

 



 

 

Jason was reported missing from his house when the remains of the children were discovered, along with his red Nissan Maxima. As police checked inside the house, they located Jason's automobile on I-57 and chased him for 17 minutes, ending with Jason crashing his vehicle. 

Round Lake Beach Police Chief Gilbert Rivera said during a press conference, "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." He also tried to die by suicide several times after his children's death, Rivera added. 

Jason Karels was held on a $10 million bail before Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak. It was unclear whether he had hired a lawyer to represent him. He will be next presented in court on June 21. The father has no known criminal record, drug use history, or mental illness.

Debra told ABC7 Chicago, "So many people told me, do not let him have them. Do not let him have them because he's mentally ill. To leave him constantly, but I was mind manipulated to believe he was a good person. Trust your gut. Trust what people say."

Following the tragic incident, Lake County Board Member Dick Barr set up a GoFundMe for the mother. The community has rallied around her, raising almost $70,000 for the burial and other costs. 

References:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jason-karels-father-drowns-three-children-round-lake-beach-illinois-left-note-wife/

https://www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/debra-karels-round-lake-beach-children-killed-drowned-bryant-cassidy-gideon-jason-karels-charged-murder/

https://abc7chicago.com/round-lake-beach-dick-barr-jason-karels-gofundme/11961092/

https://www.gofundme.com/f/3-innocent-rlb-angels?qid=fb1d3024c8c79ffb77a3ad932edd9d4f

Cover Image Source: GoFundMe/3 Innocent RLB Angels