Mom Arrested After Police Chase for Stabbing 3 Kids to Death Following Alleged Custody Dispute, Officials Say

Erik Denton in happier time pictured with his 3 children alleged killed by his ex-girlfriend, Lillian Carillo

Los Angeles Police confirmed that Liliana Carrillo is the primary suspect in the slayings of her three children: Joanna, 3; Terry, 2 and Sierra, six-months-old.

A Los Angeles woman has been arrested after she allegedly stabbed her three small children —  including a 6-month old baby — to death, a day before she was supposed to hand the children over to their father, who she was reportedly in a bitter custody dispute with, according to published reports.

Liliana Carrillo, 30, was taken into custody in Tulare County, about 200 miles north of L.A., after a long-distance chase, authorities say. She had been driving north on Interstate 5 when police said she abandoned her vehicle and allegedly carjacked a silver Toyota pickup truck. She was eventually caught and detained about four hours north of Bakersfield, Los Angeles police Lt. Raul Jovel told the Associated Press.

Los Angeles Police confirmed that Carrillo is the primary suspect in the slayings of the three children: Joanna, 3; Terry, 2 and Sierra, six-months-old, according to the coroner's office. Autopsies were pending as of Monday, according to NBC LosAngeles News.

The grandmother, who was the primary caretaker, according to neighbors, first made the grisly discovery when she arrived at the San Fernando Valley apartments after work around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Fox11 Los Angeles reported that the crime scene was so gruesome that some of the initial responders are now getting counseling.

Erik Denton, the distraught father, told the Los Angeles Times that he sought custody of the children after Carrillo began acting mentally unstable on March 1, according to Tulare County family court documents online, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

On March 4, Denton requested a temporary emergency visitation order from the family court in Porterville. He petitioned for a mental health evaluation of Carrillo, according to court documents, the LA Times reported. 

On March 26, orders were drawn up at a hearing, and April 14 would have been their next hearing, the LA Times reported. 

In alleged retaliation, on March 12, Carrillo sought a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Denton in Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to court documents, the LA Times reported.

Denton told the LA Times that after Carrillo started acting unstable, he tried to get local authorities to intervene, but “in L.A. they wouldn’t help. The LAPD would not get involved.” 

Family members have been grief-stricken since they heard the news.

Teri Miller, Erick Denton’s cousin, told KTTV on Sunday that “Liliana was very sick, and this is not – she was not herself, and it’s been going on for several months that she has been unwell.”

Miller said Denton had been seeking help through police and Child Protective Services. She said that Carrillo had left with the children in February, The Washington Post reported. 

“He did everything that he could think of to get his kids back home safely and to get her help, too, because he still loved her. But she was just not herself,” Miller said. “So he’s also frustrated with the system because the system failed them. The system failed these kids.”

Miller said Denton had repeatedly reached out to the Department of Children and Family Service (DCFS) services and police as Carrillo "needed help.” 

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services told Inside Edition Digital in a statement that they join the community in mourning the loss of the three children in Reseda. 

“State law protects the confidentiality of records for all children and families who may have come to the attention of child protective services, and prohibits confirming or commenting on whether a child or family has been involved with the department,”the statement said. “These laws are in place to protect the confidentiality of children, siblings and their families as they seek to resolve sensitive matters. The highest priority for the department is the safety and wellbeing of the county’s two million children and youth. Our mission to protect children is one we share with our partners  in law enforcement and the community. We continue to collaborate toward a shared vision of ensuring every child is able to grow up in a safe, stable and loving home.”

Denton’s family also claimed the children's father had obtained an emergency order, giving him custody of the children, in early March but could not get help, Fox11 reported. 

Brandy Kirkpatrick, a childhood friend of Erik Denton, described him as a “loving” father. She created the GoFundMe fundraiser entitled “No Words” to help the family pay for funeral expenses.

“It is more than words to describe his loss and the help that Erik needs at this time,” she said. 'Any contribution will be greatly appreciated.”

As of today, nearly $36,000 was raised towards their goal of $50,099.