The mother suspected of killing her three children found dead in their Reseda home last weekend admitted to the slayings Thursday in a jailhouse interview with KTLA sister station KGET in Bakersfield.
Liliana Carrillo told a KGET reporter she drowned the kids to keep them away from their father. She gave the interview from where she’s being held at Kern County Jail in Bakersfield in a carjacking case related to her alleged escape.
“Eric [Denton, the children’s father,] and his friends had basically told me throughout my relationship about what would happen, and everything was happening just as they were saying it,” Carrillo said. “I wasn’t about to hand my children off to be further abused.”
The former couple’s three children — Joanna, 3; Terry, 2; and Sierra, 6 months — were found dead Saturday by their maternal grandmother in their Reseda apartment. The gruesome discovery came amid a bitter custody battle, court documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal.
Denton was set to see his children Sunday, the one day he was allowed to spend with them every other week. But he was fighting in court for full custody, saying he was fearful for the children’s safety in their mother’s care.
Denton argued Carrillo was delusional and had taken the kids and refused to tell him where they were. In a restraining order filed in response, Carrillo alleged Denton was an alcoholic and may have sexually abused their eldest.
Denton’s court filings tell of Carrillo’s post-partum depression following the birth of their middle child. She began therapy but quit. She self-medicated with marijuana, he claimed. In texts and social media posts, she said things like “I wish I never had kids” and threatened to kill herself.
Carrillo also believed she was “solely responsible” for the coronavirus pandemic, Denton wrote, and she thought that Porterville was home to a “giant sex trafficking ring.”
In her interview with KGET Thursday, Carrillo said Denton had moved their family to the small Central Valley town, where she was surrounded by him and his friends.
“They have made comments to me about how it’s a small town and everybody knows each other, and how they all protect each other,” she said.
When asked if she regretted her decision to kill the children, Carrillo said she did wish her kids were alive but stood by her choice.
“Yes, I do I wish that I didn’t have to do that,” she said. “But I prefer them not being tortured and abused on a regular basis for the rest of their life.”
The custody case remained unresolved, with the most recent hearing scheduled for this Wednesday, according to AP.
Officials in L.A. are now working to have Carrillo transported from Kern County, where she pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of carjacking, attempted carjacking and auto theft.
After she fled the scene of the killings, Kern County prosecutors allege Carrillo crashed a car near Bakersfield, carjacked a truck from someone who stopped to help her, and tried to steal another truck before she was arrested Saturday afternoon in the San Joaquin County community of Ponderosa.
Coroner’s autopsies are pending to determine the cause of the children’s deaths.