In one of the saddest, most-upsetting news stories ever, a pregnant woman in Daytona, Florida, drove her minivan—filled with her three kids and her unborn child—into the ocean in an attempt to kill them all. Meanwhile her 9 and 10-year-olds were screaming, "Please help us, our mom is trying to kill us!" as they flailed their arms out of one of the rear windows in hopes of saving themselves and their 3-year-old sister.
The woman—identified as 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson—was in town from South Carolina visiting her sister, who called the cops because she feared Ebony might pose a risk to herself and her children. Police stopped her earlier that day, fearing she had depression, but were not able to hold her under Florida law since she was acting normally and they had no proof of mental illness. Just hours later, she drove her minivan into the ocean.
Police officers said she claimed she feared for her safety and that her former husband may harm them, but so far there is no evidence to back up that claim. Once rescuers got the 9 and 10-year-olds out of the van, Ebony walked out of the van, not saying a word about the third child. It was her children, who alerted the bystanders that their 3-year-old sister was still inside the sinking minivan.
Ebony is still in the hospital, pending mental evaluation, while the Florida Department of Children and Families currently has custody of her three children. Officials said the children will be placed with family members after a background check.
While domestic violence may or may not have played a part in this (Ebony was also speaking of Jesus and demons before driving her kids into the Atlantic), depression most likely did. Thirteen percent of pregnant women and new moms suffer from depression, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Women's Health.
If you have any of the following symptoms while pregnant or postpartum for longer than two weeks, call a doctor: Feeling sad, hopeless and overwhelmed; crying a lot; having no energy or motivation; having trouble focusing; memory problems; feeling worthless or guilty; withdrawing from family and friends; eating or sleeping too much or too little; having headaches, pains or stomach problems that don't go away.
The hormones brought on with a pregnancy can change your brain's usual chemistry that can then trigger depression, even if you've never experienced it before. If you see these changes in yourself or a loved one while pregnant or postpartum depression after having the baby, seek help. You don't want this sort of tragedy to happen to you or someone you love.
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Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.