Three little children were drowned to death by an Illinois father who was jailed for taking revenge on their mother

(The Lake County State)

A 36-year-old father has been sentenced to spend the entirety of his remaining days incarcerated following his conviction for the tragic drowning deaths of his three young children, all aged under 5 years old.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office announced on February 16 that Jason Karels has been handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole. This verdict comes after Karels entered a guilty plea, acknowledging his mental illness, back in December 2023.

The children, identified as 2-year-old Gideon Karels, 3-year-old Cassidy Karels, and 5-year-old Bryant Karels, met their untimely demise at the hands of their father. The heartbreaking incident unfolded on June 13, 2022, at around 1:40 p.m., prompting the Round Lake Beach Police Department to respond to a welfare check request lodged from the 200 block of East Camden Lane.

Upon arrival, officers were met with a devastating scene as the children’s mother discovered their lifeless bodies and immediately alerted the authorities. Found inside the residence alongside the deceased children was a chilling note left by Karels, bearing the ominous message: “If I can’t have them neither can you.”

Karels, however, fled the scene before the investigators’ arrival. Yet, his attempt to evade justice was short-lived, as Illinois State Troopers engaged in a pursuit that culminated in his apprehension following a crash near Interstate 80 and Water Street in Joliet.

During his arrest, Karels reportedly confessed to law enforcement officers about his involvement in the triple homicide. It was revealed by WGN-TV that at the time of the tragic incident, the children’s mother, Debra Karels, was in the process of seeking full custody, having been estranged from their father.

The findings of the Lake County Coroner’s Office confirmed that the cause of death for the children was fatal drowning. The sentencing hearing bore witness to poignant impact statements delivered by the children’s mother, maternal grandmother, and aunt.

They described the three youngsters as “beautiful, innocent children who did not deserve what happened to them.” The state’s attorney’s office echoed their sentiments, branding Karels as a “monster” who betrayed his duty to love and protect his children. Eric Kalata, Chief of the Domestic Violence Division, condemned Karels’ actions as “brutal, evil, and sinister,” while Judge James Booras denounced the crime as “sickening” and “despicable.”

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