A California woman’s second son died just a week after authorities say she tried to drown her two sons at an irrigation ditch because she believed the boys were “possessed by demons.”
Both boys were found unconscious June 29 at an irrigation ditch near the home where the family had been staying. Jackson Telnas, 12, died shortly after being submerged into the water, authorities said, according to The Visalia Times Delta.
His younger brother Jacob Jr. spent a week fighting for his life at a local hospital before his family took him off life support Sunday. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury likely due to a lack of oxygen from the drowning.
The boys’ mother, Sherri Telnas, is behind bars and was already facing one count of murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait after the death of her first son. It’s likely a second count will be added now that Jacob has passed away. Telnas could be eligible for the death penalty in the case, due to the special circumstance.
Telnas, 45, reportedly told Tulare County deputies that she had drowned her children because “they were possessed by demons.”
During her arraignment last week, she repeatedly spoke out in court, first telling a judge “excuse me, I am Sherri” while the judge was handling other cases, and then later exclaiming “I love Jesus,” local station KSEE reports.
The boys’ grandmother spoke out about the horrific loss telling local station KFSN the two young boys had been extremely close.
“My son lost his two children,” Diana Keeland said of the boy’s father, Jacob Telnas. “I lost my two grandsons who were both very precious to me.”
Keeland said her son was able to “love up” on Jacob Jr. before he died and “got a chance to spend time with him and tell him how much he loves him.”
The only comfort in his passing, she said, is the knowledge that now both boys will be together.
Sherri Telnas had allegedly tried to drown her oldest son more than a decade earlier in Montana when he was just an infant.
She later pleaded no contest to two counts of criminal endangerment after authorities said she submerged the 10-month-old in the Clark Fork River in 2008, according to The Mineral Independent. She told authorities at the time that she had tried to drown the child after hearing “bad thoughts or voices.”
Her infant son was placed into the custody of his father at the time. She was later released in 2016 and was granted custody of her children, The Times Delta reports.
Telnas is being held without bail for the charges against her.
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