Custody hearing for mom who drove into ocean

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —The South Carolina mother who drove her minivan and children into the ocean in Daytona Beach will be back in court on Monday for a custody hearing.

RELATED: Bond set for mom who attempted to kill kids

A mother who drove her minivan into the ocean in Daytona Beach has been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office announced Friday.

Ebony Wilkerson, 32, is being held on $1.2 million bond. She's charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill her three children.

RELATED: Mother charged with attempted first-degree murder

The hearing will determine the best placement for the kids.

On Tuesday, Wilkerson drove her minivan into the ocean shortly after her sister called 911 to tell authorities Wilkerson was having mental health problems. She was stopped by police before she got to the beach but officers couldn't tell anything was wrong.

The oldest child told beach officers that her mother took them to the beach "so we could die," according to investigators.

PHOTO GALLERY: Van goes into the ocean at Daytona Beach

"She told them 'close your eyes and go to sleep,' she was taking them to a better place,'" said Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson.

Deputies said Wilkerson locked the doors and rolled up the windows of her 2012 Honda Odyssey as she drove into the Atlantic Ocean.

Wilkerson, who is 27 and 1/2 weeks pregnant, underwent mental health exams after Tuesday's incident, and she was arrested at Halifax Health Medical Center on Friday morning.

Family members said Wilkerson was not in her right mind and trying to leave an abusive relationship. She had just filed an assault report against her husband, Lutful Ronjon.

Over the weekend, Ronjon's attorney issued a statement: "Mr. Ronjon thanks God and the people who rescued his family. He has and will continue to full cooperate with authorities. The domestic violence allegations concerning Mr. Ronjon were baseless and the result of extreme mental illness."


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