The Illinois man facing charges for allegedly drowning his three children in a bathtub left a chilling note for his estranged wife to find, prosecutors said Wednesday.
“Mr. Karels left a note in the home, which stated, ‘If I can’t have them, neither can you,’” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said during a Wednesday court hearing for Jason Karels.
Karels, 35, has been charged with murder for the Monday deaths of his three young children—5-year-old Bryant, 3-year-old Cassie, and 2-year-old Gideon. On Wednesday, a Lake County judge set the father’s bail at $10 million.
Prosecutors allege that after Karels drowned his kids one at a time in the bathroom, he penned the grisly note intended for his estranged wife, Debra Karels. Hours later, Debra called the police asking them to perform a welfare check at his house. The devastated mother, who spoke exclusively to The Daily Beast on Tuesday, said she intended to pick up her children for a doctor’s appointment.
When Round Lake Beach police entered the Camden Lane home, they found the three children dead and their father missing, spurring a massive search. Karels was ultimately tracked down in his red Nissan Maxima on a local highway and was arrested after a 17-minute, high-speed chase that ended in a crash.
“After the crash, Karels made statements to police officers involved in the chase and wearing body-worn cameras indicating he was responsible for the deaths of the children at the Round Lake Beach home,” Round Lake Beach Police Chief Gilbert Rivera said during a Tuesday press conference announcing the charges. “He also said he attempted to commit suicide several times after the deaths of the children but was unsuccessful during these attempts.”
Authorities have indicated that the shocking murders were “motivated from a domestic situation.” Debra Karels’ sister-in-law, Christina Neuman Berg, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that Jason “had severe mental issues and refused to get help.”
Debra Karels told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that she is disappointed by the news that her estranged husband, whom she was in the process of divorcing, received bail given the nature of the crime. She added that she was aware of the note but has not seen it in person.
“I don’t want to see it,” she said.