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Father Who Admitted To Drowning 3 Children Held On $10M Bond

Round Lake Beach, IL – A father who told police that he murdered his three young children has been held in custody on a $10 million bond.

Police said that 35-year-old Jason Karels and his estranged wife were in a custody battle over their three children, five-year-old Bryant, three-year-old Cassidy, and two-year-old Gideon, WLS reported.

The mother of the children contacted police for a well-being check on at about 1:40 p.m. on June 13 when she arrived at Karels’ home at an agreed-upon time to pick up the kids for a doctor’s appointment, but there was no answer at the front door.

Police arrived and entered the home, where they found all three little children dead in a bedroom, WLS reported.

A bulletin was put out for Karels vehicle and police spotted him a short time later on Interstate 57, CBS News reported.

A high-speed police chase ensued and Karels eventually crashed his Nissan into the woods next to Interstate 80 near Joliet, WLS reported.

“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 told reporters on Tuesday.

“He also said he attempted to commit suicide several times after the deaths of the children but was unsuccessful during these attempts,” Chief Rivera added.

Karels blood was allegedly found inside the home with the bodies of his dead children, WLS reported.

Prosecutors said Karels told investigators that he had drowned the children one at a time.

Karels was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash and then booked into the Lake County Jail, WLS reported.

He has been charged with three counts of murder.

A judge ordered the alleged murdered held on a $10 million bond.

Chief Rivera said that the police department had no previous contact with the family and that Karels had no known history of drug use or mental health problems, WLS reported.

“I don’t know that anything could’ve stopped this or if there were any early indications of it,” the police chief said. “As I mentioned, we were not familiar with this family nor with the house.”

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services told WLS it had never had any contact with the family.

Chief Rivera said the family moved into the home in the Road Lake Beach area about five years ago.

Prosecutors said Karels left a note for his wife in his home that may have explained his motive for the killings, WLS reported.

“Mr. Karels left a note in the home, which stated, ‘if I can’t have them, neither can you,'” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

Lake County Coroner’s Office Chief Deputy Steve Newton said the preliminary autopsies on the children confirmed that they had all drowned, CBS News reported.

Newtown said his office was waiting for toxicology results to find out if the children were drugged before they were murdered by their father.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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