Attempted murder charges for mom in ocean drive


Published: Friday, March 7, 2014 at 2:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 at 2:13 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH — A pregnant South Carolina woman who drove a minivan carrying her three young children into the ocean surf off Florida was charged Friday with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, though she has denied trying to harm anyone, authorities said.

Bystanders and officers helped pull 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson and her children, ages 3, 9 and 10, from their minivan as it was almost submerged on Tuesday on Daytona Beach.

Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said Wilkerson has denied trying to hurt her children. However, the children told investigators otherwise and witnesses said she tried to keep them from rescuing them. The windows were rolled up and the doors were locked, and one of the children tried to wrestle the steering wheel away from her, Johnson said.

"She told them to close their eyes and go to sleep. She was trying to take them to a better place," Johnson said.

Wilkerson was in custody of the sheriff's office after she was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation. Her children were with the Department of Children and Families. Wilkerson faces three counts each of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, Johnson said.

"You're supposed to protect your children at all costs," Johnson said at a news conference. "You're not supposed to try to kill your children."

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top