Chicago Dad Pleads Guilty to Drowning 3 Children, Left Note for Estranged Wife: 'If I Can't Have Them Neither Can You'

Jason Karels
Jason Karels is facing life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Facebook

A suburban Chicago man pleaded guilty but mentally ill last week to drowning his three young children, apparently because he was angry with his estranged wife.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said that Jason Karels, 36, will be sentenced early next year, The Asssociated Press reported.

Round Lake Beach police found 5-year-old Bryant, 3-year-old Cassidy, and 2-year-old Gideon dead on June 13, 2022, after their mother went to pick them up from their father's after a weekend and couldn't find him.

The Illinois State Police spotted Karels' vehicle a few hours later and engaged in a short pursuit before he crashed in the neighboring city of Joliet.

Officers found a note at the home, with the dead children, that said, "If I can't have them neither can you," prosecutors said. They also said that Karels attempted to kill himself before fleeing the home.

"This case has devasted the Round Lake Beach community and beyond," Rinehart said in a news release. "We hope that today's resolution provides some measure of closure, and we will continue to provide support to the family."

Investigators said the Karelses were separated and shared custody of the children at the time. "My children were absolutely amazing," she said. "They were three beautiful little souls that didn't deserve this."

Karels will receive an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said. He's scheduled to be formally sentenced in February.