Round Lake Beach

Father Pleads Not Guilty in Drowning Deaths of 3 Children in Round Lake Beach

NBC Universal, Inc.

Warning: Details in this story may be disturbing for some readers. Viewer discretion is advised.

A father accused of killing three children in suburban Round Lake Beach last month has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the case.

Jason Karels, 35, is accused of drowning the children - ages 5, 3, and 2 - individually in a bath tub inside of a home in mid-June.

He was charged with nine counts of first-degree murder by a grand jury last week, and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Thursday.

Karels is accused of leaving the childrens' bodies on a bed in the home, as well as leaving a note for the mother of the children.

"If I can't have them, neither can you," the note read.

Police said they were called to the residence just after 1 p.m. on June 13 after the mother of the children discovered the children inside as she came to pick them up after a weekend with her estranged husband.

“What they saw yesterday is something that no one should have to see,” Police Chief Gilbert Rivera said at the time.

The Lake County Coroner said the initial cause of death was ruled as drowning.

Karels had fled the scene and an alert was put out for his vehicle, authorities said.

Police ultimately found him and pursued him for nearly 20 minutes, finally capturing him after he crashed his vehicle on Interstate 80.

Officers say that Karels admitted to them that he had killed the three children, and said he had tried to take his own life.

He was taken to an area hospital after the crash, and was later booked into the Lake County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Meanwhile, a family member says that they are in shock over the deaths of the three children, identified as Bryant, Cassidy and Gideon Karels.

That family member told NBC 5 that the children’s mother dropped them off at the home for the weekend, and that she could have never imagined it would be the last time she would see them alive.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the mother and the extended family of the children, including raising money for funeral costs.

Contact Us