LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A 30-year-old woman has been charged with murdering her three young children in a Reseda apartment earlier this month.
Liliana Carrillo is also facing an allegation of using a knife as a deadly and dangerous weapon on her 6-month-old daughter Sierra during the April 10 killings, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Monday, April 19.
In an interview in the Kern County jail, where she is being held on $2 million bail, Carrillo told a reporter for NBC affiliate KGET that she drowned her children because she feared their abuse and sexual assault at the hands of others.
“I wasn’t about to hand my children off to be further abused,” she said.
Carrillo said she killed her daughter Sierra, 3-year-old daughter Joanna and 2-year-old son Terry “softly,” telling the reporter, “I hugged them and I kissed them … and I was apologizing the whole time. I promised I would protect them.”
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office put a security hold on the children’s autopsy reports.
The children’s grandmother discovered the bodies.
Their father, Eric Denton, had been granted custody of the children following a legal battle in which he raised grave concerns about Carrillo’s mental health. He had expected the children to be turned over to him on April 11, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Court records reviewed by the Times and Orange County Register included allegations that Carrillo was suffering from postpartum depression and increasingly paranoid and delusional after failing to take prescribed medication.
Denton and a family member who is an emergency room physician also reached out to police and child welfare authorities, according to court filings and media interviews.
But Carrillo also sought aid from authorities and was granted a temporary restraining order for her and her children through the Los Angeles County courts on March 12, which barred Denton from harassing, threatening or violent behavior.
Carrillo allegedly carjacked a silver Toyota pickup in the Bakersfield area before her arrest April 10 in the Ponderosa area of Tulare County, east of Porterville.
She was charged April 13 by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office with carjacking, attempted carjacking and auto theft and transferred to that county’s jail.
She has pleaded not guilty to those charges and her next hearing is set for Wednesday, when a motion seeking to delay setting a preliminary hearing is expected to be heard.
The Los Angeles case is being prosecuted by the Family Violence Division. A date for arraignment has not yet been set.
District Attorney George Gascon said, “Our hearts go out to the family of these children who are coping with this tremendous loss. My office has reached out to the survivors to offer trauma-informed services during these incredibly difficult times.”