ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Volusia County Court Judge Shirley Green found probable cause for the charges against pregnant South Carolina mother Ebony Wilkerson during Wilkerson’s first appearance in court Saturday and set her bond at $1.2 million. A date for an arraignment was not released.
On Tuesday, Wilkerson of North Charleston, South Carolina, drove to Daytona Beach from her sister’s Orlando home where she’d fled her abusive husband. Wilkerson put her three children in the car, pointed to the ocean, locked the doors and rolled up the windows, telling her them she was “trying to take them to a better place” as she drove her minivan into the surf, authorities said.
Ebony Wilkerson even tried to call off bystanders hustling to rescue her screaming children from the water, saying “everyone was OK” as she left the van in the ocean, an affidavit said. Wilkerson, 32, is charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts child abuse causing great bodily harm.
The bystanders and beach safety officers pulled the two girls and a boy, ages 3, 9 and 10, through the windows to safety.
Wilkerson denied trying to hurt her children, telling investigators she was driving too close to the water, “and the waves pulled her in,” according to the charging affidavit.
Her children told investigators another story.