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    Reseda woman who admitted drowning her 3 young children pleads not guilty due to insanity
    • October 6, 2023

    A woman accused of drowning her three young children in a Reseda apartment two years ago pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to three murder charges Friday, Oct. 6.

    Liliana Carrillo, 32, entered dual pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity in the April 10, 2021, killings of her 5-month-old daughter Sierra, 2-year-old son Terry and 3-year-old daughter Joanna.

    Carrillo, jailed since her April 2021 arrest in Tulare County, had been ordered on Aug. 23 to stand trial in connection with the killings.

    The murder charge involving her youngest daughter includes an allegation that she used a knife during the commission of the crime.

    The killings led to an outpouring of grief from family members and neighbors. The children’s grandmother discovered all three children drowned inside the Reseda apartment where they lived with Carillo. Sierra also suffered a stab wound to the chest that struck her left lung, according to the coroner’s office.

    Prior to the killings, court records showed family members were worried that Carrillo was suffering from spiraling mental health issues, which led the father of the children to request a mental evaluation for her in March 2021.

    Carrillo fled the apartment after allegedly killing the children, leading to a manhunt that coursed through the Bakersfield area north of Los Angeles. She was eventually arrested in Tulare County after she crashed her car and attempted to carjack another person.

    While she was in custody in Tulare County, Carrillo gave an interview to local television station KGET in which she admitted to killing the children.

    “I drowned them,” she said.

    Kim Lormans, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Juvenile Division, testified during the hearing in August that the children were found dead “in a row” on a bed inside the apartment.

    “There was blood everywhere,” Lormans said.

    Carrillo said in the interview that she attempted suicide after killing the children, but that “it didn’t work.”

    “I know that I’m going to be in jail for the rest of my life,” she said. “It’s something I’ve come to terms with.”

    The children’s father, Erik Denton, filed a civil lawsuit in April 2022 against the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, alleging negligence in handling reports of Carrillo’s serious mental health issues.

    Staff writer Josh Cain and City News Service contributed to this report.

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    ​ Orange County Register