Mom who drove van full of children into ocean gives birth

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —

The mother who is accused of trying to kill her three children by driving her minivan into the ocean in Daytona Beach in March has given birth.

Officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families said Ebony Wilkerson gave birth and the child has been turned over to family members. Officials offered no other information.

Wilkerson, 32, was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder and child abuse was held on $1.2 million bond. The charges were later reduced to three counts of attempted second-degree murder and three counts of child abuse.

In March prosecutors said Wilkerson was sent to Halifax Hospital's psychiatric ward a second time for a psychiatric evaluation after she punched herself in the stomach while jailed.

"That was the reason why she was Baker Acted and brought back to the facility," said State Attorney R.J. Larizza.

Video shot by beachgoers shows Wilkerson and her minivan full of children -- ages 3, 9 and 10 -- in the rough ocean surf.

The children told police their mother locked the doors of the van, put up the windows and told them to "close their eyes and go to sleep," authorities said.

One of the children told authorities Wilkerson drove into the surf, saying she was doing it to “keep all of us safe.”

The oldest child grabbed the steering wheel and unsuccessfully tried to steer the vehicle away from the water, authorities said.

One of the children pushed the power button to lower the windows and the children started screaming for help.

By the time the vehicle stopped, witnesses said the ocean water was rushing into the minivan and the vehicle was quickly filling up.

When lifeguards and beachgoers ran to the van to help, Wilkerson told them everything was OK, authorities said, but she did not mention that her children were still in the car.

Lifeguards and good Samaritans, however, heard the children screaming that their mother was trying to kill them and were able to safely rescue them.

No one was injured in the incident.