Chicago dad faces 3 murder charges in kids’ drowning deaths

Posted at 11:44 PM, June 14, 2022 and last updated 4:55 PM, July 14, 2023

ROUND LAKE BEACH, Ill. (AP) — A north suburban Chicago man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the drowning deaths of his three young children, authorities said Tuesday.

Jason E. Karels, 35, was arrested after leading police on a chase that ended in a crash Monday at an Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet, Round Lake Beach Police Chief Gilbert Rivera said at a news conference.

Karels was hospitalized after the crash, Rivera said.

Preliminary autopsy results showed 5-yeaqr-old Bryant Karels, Cassidy Karels, 3, and Gideon Karels, 2, all died as a result of drowning, Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Newton of the Lake County Coroner’s Office said.

Rivera said the children’s mother asked police to perform a well-being check at Karels’ home on Monday afternoon. Rivera said the parents shared custody of the children but did not live together. Rivera said he did not know their marital status.

After the crash in Joliet, Karels told first responders he was responsible for the deaths of his children and had attempted to kill himself before fleeing the home, Rivera said. Officers found the man’s blood in the house from his attempts to hurt himself, Rivera said.