ROUND LAKE BEACH, Ill. — A judge has ordered a man held on a $10 million bond after admitting to the murders of his three children in Round Lake Beach.

Jason Karels, 35, is facing three first-degree murder charges in the deaths of 5-year-old Bryant, 3-year-old Cassidy and 2-year-old Gideon.

(L to R) Bryant, Cassidy and Gideon – Courtesy GoFundMe

At around 1:40 p.m. Monday, police responded to a home in the 200 block of East Camden Lane, after the mother of the children discovered their bodies, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.

When police arrived, they found the children dead inside the home. The coroner’s office determined their cause of death to be drowning.

According to the state’s attorney’s office, officers on scene found a note from Karels that said, “If I can’t have them neither can you.” 

The man was arrested on Monday evening near Joliet following a 17-minute pursuit by Illinois State Troopers. The chase led to Karel’s vehicle crashing near I-80 and Water Street in Joliet. Police said the father admitted to killing his children after he was taken into custody. 

On Wednesday, the children’s mother, Debra Karels, spoke out and explained she was in the process of gaining full custody of the kids.

Should have stuck to my guns and not had their father see them,” she said. “I regret everyday of my life that I let him see those kids.”

Debra said her estranged husband was an absentee father who was unwilling to find a job while playing video games around the clock.

The state’s attorney’s office indicated it will be seeking to hold Karels without the possibility of cash bond under a special statute. That motion will be heard on June 21 and a preliminary hearing is set for July 13, according to the office.

State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart released the following statement Wednesday.

“This is a devastating case for our community, and we are resolved to achieve justice for these three innocent children. First, we need to ensure that the defendant is not released pending trial considering the nature of the case and his flight. We have filed a motion asking he be held without bond. Second, we need to give any and every resource available to the family. Finally, within the office, we will devote everything necessary to make sure this brutal crime is punished, and that this defendant never ever harms anyone again

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric F. Rinehart

A GoFundMe for the mother has raised over $60,000 at this time.