‘I drowned them’: California mother admits killing 3 children

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The mother of three children found dead in a Los Angeles apartment, called a “person of interest” by authorities, claimed Thursday in a television interview from jail that she killed them.

>> Read more trending news

Liliana Carrillo, 30, told KGET-TV that she killed her children Saturday to protect them from their father, Erik Denton.

“I drowned them,” Carrillo said from the Kern County Jail, where she is being held on carjacking charges. “I wasn’t about to hand off my children to be further abused.”

Carrillo has not been charged in the children’s murders, but Los Angeles County prosecutors are expected to file charges later this week, the Los Angeles Times reported.

>> 3 young children killed in Los Angeles apartment; mom in custody is person of interest

The children’s grandmother discovered the children -- Joanna, 3; Terry, 2; and Sierra, 6 months -- dead on Saturday morning. Carrillo was not at the apartment complex in the Reseda neighborhood of Los Angeles, authorities said. Two of the children showed signs of drowning, and all three had injuries that indicated they were bludgeoned, the Times reported.

No cause of death has been publicly released, the newspaper reported. The Los Angeles Police Department has identified Carrillo, 30, as the prime suspect.

Speaking with KGET reporter Eytan Wallace on Thursday afternoon, Carrillo repeated that she had killed her children and regretted doing so.

“I wish my kids were alive, yes,” Carrillo said. “Do I wish that I didn’t have to do that? Yes, but I prefer them not being tortured and abused on a regular basis for the rest of their life.”

Carrillo had been involved in a custody dispute with Denton, the Times reported. The newspaper cited court documents that Denton asked for a temporary emergency visitation last month. He also petitioned for a mental health evaluation for Carrillo.

In response, Carrillo had asked for a domestic violence restraining order against Denton on March 12, court documents showed.

According to court documents, Denton said Carrillo was “extremely paranoid” and erratic. Denton added that Carrillo claimed that she was “solely responsible” for the COVID-19 pandemic and that his hometown of Porterville was beset by a pedophile ring, the Times reported.

“I am afraid for my children’s physical and mental well-being,” Denton told a Tulare County judge last month, the newspaper reported. The judge agreed to grant physical custody to Denton, who was supposed to take the children on Sunday.

Carrillo pleaded not guilty to carjacking and other charges in a Kern County court on Wednesday, KGET reported.