Man Sentenced for Drowning His Three Children in Bathtub

Round Lake Beach, Illinois – An Illinois man who admitted to drowning his three young children in a tragic act of revenge against their mother has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Jason E. Karels, 36, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The devastating loss of Bryant Karels, 5, Cassidy Karels, 3, and Gideon Karels, 2, was described by their mother, aunt, and maternal grandmother as a “light lost,” according to Lake County prosecutors. In a heart-wrenching victim impact statement, they referred to Karels as a “monster” for his heinous actions.

The horrific incident occurred in June 2022 when Karels drowned his children in a bathtub before leaving a chilling note for their mother, stating, “If I can’t have them, neither can you.” Following the crime, Karels led police on a high-speed chase that spanned multiple highways and lasted 17 minutes. The pursuit came to an end when he crashed his vehicle in a densely wooded area off Interstate 80.

When authorities apprehended Karels, he made incriminating statements, confessing to the murders. Police Chief Gilbert Rivera revealed that multiple body cameras recorded the confession, in which Karels also claimed to have attempted suicide multiple times following the killings.

Karels ultimately pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the charges on December 15, 2023. In Illinois, this plea allows defendants better access to mental health treatment while in custody. The sentencing marked the end of a devastating case that has deeply affected the family and the local community.

State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart expressed condolences to the family, acknowledging the immense impact this tragedy has had on their lives. He also commended the law enforcement officers from Round Lake Beach for their exceptional performance during the investigation and pursuit. Rinehart thanked the legal team and victim specialist involved in ensuring that the offender was held accountable for his actions.

This heartbreaking case serves as a reminder of the profound impact of domestic disputes on innocent lives. The sentencing offers some closure for the grieving family, as they continue on a long journey of healing and recovery.