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IL father, 35, charged with murder after drowning his three children, aged 2, 3 and 5, in a BATHTUB

An Illinois father who drowned his three children in a bathtub and then placed their bodies in the bedroom of his home has been charged with murder.

Jason E. Karels, 35, of Chicago, drowned his children one by one in the bathtub of his Camden Lane home on Monday after he and his wife Debra recently broke up, a prosecutor said at a hearing on Wednesday.

His Children – Bryant, 5; Cassidy, 3; and Gideon, 2 – were spending the weekend with their dad when their mom, Debra, found their bodies in the bedroom after applying for benefits for Karels, who was said to have “serious mental health issues.”

Karels was not on site when she discovered their children in his home. The couple shared custody of the children, but did not live together.

Inside the house, police found a note Karels had written to Debra, which read in one line, “If I can’t have them, then neither can you,” prosecutors said. Authorities say the killings “appear to be motivated by a domestic situation”.

“Unfortunately, there was domestic violence in their relationship and Debbie was finally given the strength to leave him and go through with a divorce,” her sister-in-law Christina Neuman Berg explained to the Daily Beast

“Debbie wanted to have a relationship with the father of her children and let him visit them, and now we know that was a terrible mistake.”

Preliminary autopsy results showed that all three died from drowning, said Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Newton of the Lake County Coroner’s Office.

Jason Karels, 35, of Chicago, appeared at a hearing on Wednesday after drowning his three children in a bathtub at his home on Monday.

Jason Karels, 35, of Chicago, appeared at a hearing on Wednesday after drowning his three children in a bathtub at his home on Monday.

He drowned his children - Bryant, 5;  Cassidy, 3;  and Gideon, 2 —

He drowned his children – Bryant, 5; Cassidy, 3; and Gideon, 2 — “one at a time” in the bathtub of his Camden Lane home, prosecutors said. Authorities said the violent killings stemmed from a “household situation” as the children’s parents had recently separated and were not living together.

Karels was arrested after leading police during a 17-minute chase that ended in a crash Monday after being driven off the Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet, Round Lake Beach Police Chief Gilbert Rivera said at a news conference.

Officers wearing body cams recorded that Karels admitted to killing his three young children before fleeing in his car. He later gave a “detailed report” of what he did to them to the police, the prosecutor said during the hearing.

Karels had to be freed from the vehicle by the fire brigade and was hospitalized after the accident. He has since been transferred to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on $10 million bail.

Prosecutors originally asked not to bail the father, but failed to petition the court. The prosecutor said they would file the motion today, but it is not expected to take effect until Tuesday.

Debra (right) had applied for social assistance benefits from Kerals (left) and found her children dead in the bedroom.  Karels had already fled the house after a suicide attempt

Debra (right) had applied for social assistance benefits from Kerals (left) and found her children dead in the bedroom. Karels had already fled the house after a suicide attempt

His bail is set at $10 million.  Prosecutors initially asked not to give him bail, but failed to file the paperwork on time.  The prosecutor said he would file it today, but it is not expected to take effect until Tuesday

His bail is set at $10 million. Prosecutors initially asked not to give him bail, but failed to file the paperwork on time. The prosecutor said he would file it today, but it is not expected to take effect until Tuesday

Kerals and Debra reportedly split due to his 'serious mental health issues'

Kerals and Debra reportedly split due to his ‘serious mental health issues’

Karels also chose to engage a public defender in his case because he had “no money” to hire a lawyer himself, he told Judge Theodore Potkonjak on Wednesday.

The prosecutor also said Karels attempted suicide after brutally murdering his children and that police found evidence that “confirmed” this statement.

Officers found the man’s blood in the house from his attempts to self-injure.

Debra said her kids were “excited to hear from me” over the phone the night before.

They were excited to talk,” Karels told the Daily Beast. “They didn’t do anything special, they just seemed excited that I would pick them up the next morning.

‘I’m just in disbelief. You never think something like this will happen to you. I never thought he would do this to his children, but now I know, if you have the slightest hint of doubt, don’t ignore it and stick to your guns.”

Debra paid tribute to her three children, describing them as “amazing,” each with their own personality.

Bryant, who was about to start kindergarten in September, “was a very smart” kid.

“He always said, ‘Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll always take care of you,’ explained Debra.

He later led police in a 17-minute crash that ended with his car crashing off a bridge onto I-80

He later led police in a 17-minute crash that ended with his car crashing off a bridge onto I-80

His car was seen through the bushes of the bridge

His car was seen through the bushes of the bridge

Daughter, Cassidy, was the “little middle kid,” while Gideon was “a sweet little mama’s boy” who adored dinosaurs and Mickey Mouse.

A GoFundMe has raised more than $55,000 for a $100,000 cause, with the money going to the family of the three children.

“This tragedy happened in my own neighborhood, and I need to make sure this mother has everything she needs to not worry about money during this terrible time,” wrote Lake County Board member Dick Barr.

Karels is expected to appear in a preliminary hearing on July 13.

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