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Kids rescued from surf: 'Mom tried to kill us'

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm •  Published: March 7, 2014
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Harrell told the dispatcher she had tried to take her sister to a hospital the day before the minivan ended up in the surf but Wilkerson had checked herself out. She said Wilkerson had been abused by her husband and that police should check on her.

"She's getting a little bit better, but she's still not all there," Harrell said.

Two days before what happened on the beach, Wilkerson told North Charleston police that she was in a violent altercation with her husband of 14 years at a hotel room in Myrtle Beach and gone to a hospital for treatment, according to an incident report. She also told police that after she packed up the car and kids at their apartment, her husband made a motion as if he was going to grab her, but she got into the car before he could, the report said.

She then went to Wal-Mart to cash in some coins so she'd have money for the trip. She reported that she felt a man was staring at her and followed her at the store and to the North Charleston City Hall where police were called. Officers said they gave her a form for a protective order and she refused being taken to a shelter since she was going to Florida.

Myrtle Beach police say they are investigating what happened at the hotel but no charges were filed. Phone numbers for Wilkerson's husband were disconnected.

Harrell told the dispatcher that Wilkerson was "talking about Jesus and how there are demons in my house and how I'm trying to control her but I'm trying to keep them safe."

Harrell said she had taken Wilkerson's car keys away but her sister had found another set and driven off with the children.

After the call to dispatch, Daytona Beach officers stopped Wilkerson's black Honda Odyssey and she expressed fear that her husband would be coming to Florida to harm her and her children.

The children were sitting quietly, smiling, and showed no signs of distress, the police report said.

"It was clear during my conversation that Wilkerson was suffering from some form of mental illness, but she was lucid," the Daytona Beach police officer said in the report.

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Associated Press writer Tom Foreman Jr. in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.