Warning: Details in this story may be disturbing for some readers. Viewer discretion is advised.
A mother shared an emotional message Wednesday after her estranged husband was charged with killing their three children in suburban Round Lake Beach this week.
"My children were absolutely amazing. They were three beautiful little souls that didn't deserve this," Debra Karels said amid tears.
Prosecutors revealed Wednesday new details on the tragic killings, alleging their father drowned them before leaving a note for their mother to find.
During a bond court hearing, prosecutors alleged 35-year-old Jason Karels drowned the children individually in a bathtub before leaving their bodies on a bed in the home.
"I wish I was there for them that day," Debra Karels said. "I wish I were there to grab them before all of this happened."
The mother described her son Bryant, 5, as "the smartest kid in the world." She said he wanted to be an astronaut and "go to the moon."
"Cassidy was my mini me. She was a Sour Patch Kid," Debra Karels said of her 3-year-old daughter. "She was the sweetest girl in the world."
Gideon had just turned 2 years old before the tragedy. Debra Karels said that the toddler "loved Mama so much. He was a mama's boy."
A note was also left at the scene, which read "If I can't have them, neither can you," prosecutors said in court.
Jason Karels was ordered held on a $10 million bond Wednesday morning. However, Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart argued that under a special statute, the father should be held without bond.
A hearing will take place regarding that issue next week.
"The most important thing to me is the kids and he took that away from me. He knew that and knew that nothing mattered to me but those children," the mother said.
Debra Karels said that her faith has been the only thing getting her through this grief.
"You don't know until you are in the situation," she said. "All you can think about is God and Jesus and the ones you have lost because that's the only amazing thing is you get to know my kids are with my father up in heaven."
"This is a devastating case for our community, and we are resolved to achieve justice for these three innocent children," Rinehart said in a statement.
Police said they were called to the residence just after 1 p.m. after the mother of the children discovered the three inside as she came to pick them up after a weekend with her husband.
“What they saw yesterday is something that no one should have to see,” Police Chief Gilbert Rivera said.
The Lake County coroner said the initial causes of death were ruled as drowning.
Jason 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 said 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 booked into the Lake County jail on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a family member said that they are in shock over the deaths of the three children.
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.