Bond set at $10 million for father charged with drowning three children in Round Lake Beach


CHICAGO (CBS) — Bond was set at $10 million for a father charged with three counts of murder after police say he confessed to drowning his three children.

Jason Karels, 35, appeared in court Wednesday. The State’s Attorney is filing a motion Wednesday to deny bond. 

And new, chilling details were revealed. 

Around 1:40 a.m. Monday, police responded to a home in the 200 block of East Camden Lane, after receiving a request for a well-being check from the children’s mother, who was supposed to pick them up from their estranged father, according to Round Lake Police Chief Gilbert Rivera.

CBS 2 learned the mother found the children dead on a bed. 

Karels also left a note saying, “If I can’t have them, neither can you.” Prosecutors say Karels was referring to the children in his letter.

Police entered the home and found the three children – 5-year-old Bryant, 3-year-old Cassidy, and 2-year-old Gideon – dead inside.

Three children – 5-year-old Bryant, 3-year-old Cassidy, and 2-year-old Gideon – were found dead in their father’s Round Lake Beach home on June 13, 2022, and their father has now been charged with their murders after police say he confessed to drowning them.

Provided photo

Rivera said the children were on a weekend visit with their father at the time, and their mother had been planning to pick them up for a doctor’s visit. The two parents shared custody of the children.

Neighbors said the family stayed to themselves, and didn’t really engage with others on the block, but they did see the kids walking to and from the school bus dropoff.

Their father, Karels, was not at home when the bodies were found, but a few hours later, Illinois State Police spotted his car on Interstate 57 near 115th Street, and following a chase across multiple highways, Karels crashed in a wooded area along Interstate 80 near Water Street in Joliet.

Karels told police after his arrest he had attempted suicide several times. He also gave a detailed statement of how he drowned the children in the bathtub. 

Karels was taken to a hospital and has been charged with three counts of murder.

Investigators are awaiting the results of toxicological tests to determine if the children were drugged before they were drowned, but he said there were no other signs of injuries on the children.

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