VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —The South Carolina mother who drove her minivan and children into the ocean in Daytona Beach was back in court Monday for a custody hearing.
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.
The hearing, which ran from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., determined the best placement for the kids. A gag order was issued in the case preventing updates from being released to the public and media.
Wilkerson's husband, Lutfill Ronjon, was also in court and advised not to speak to the media.
"The only thing I can say is God bless everybody," he said.
Leonard Ross is representing Ronjon in the child custody case.
"At the appropriated time we can talk, but we can't talk by way of court order now," he said.
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.
"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 a-half weeks pregnant, underwent mental health exams after Tuesday's incident, and she was arrested at Halifax Health Medical Center on Friday morning.
Wilkerson's public defender refused to discuss a possible mental health defense.
"We're developing our case at this point, and I'm just really not in a position to discuss what her situation is in that regard," said Jim Purdy.
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.
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."