Jackson Telnas

Police: Mother tries to drown son as a baby. 11 years later, she tries again and succeeds

A California mother was arrested over the weekend, 11 years after she tried to kill her oldest son, police say

ABC News reports that in 2008, 45-year-old Sherri Renee Telnas took her son Jackson Telnas, a 10-month-old at the time, to the Clark Fork River in Montana and tried to drown him. She told authorities at the time that “bad thoughts or voices” made her do it, but at the last minute she decided she couldn’t go through with it.

Telmas reportedly performed CPR on the boy and brought him to the Mineral Community Hospital in Superior, where he was treated for water in his lungs. Telnas was initially charged with deliberate homicide and made to undergo a mental evaluation.

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According to court documents, Telnas later accepted a plea deal for two counts of criminal endangerment. She was sentenced to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services Commitment, according to KRTV, but subsequently released in 2016.

Sherri Telnas police mugshots in 2019 (left) and 2008 (right). [Photo: Police Handout]
In 2010, Telnas was granted full custody of Jackson during a divorce hearing after a judge reportedly claimed she was doing well in her mental health treatment and “appears to be very loving,” according to ABC 6.

Court records indicate Jacob Telnas, the boy’s father, didn’t respond to the court when Telnas accused him of being an unemployed alcoholic, which played a part in the woman gaining custody of the boy.

In 2012, Telnas got back together with Jacob Telnas, and the pair had another son. The family moved to California less than a year ago, with Jackson, now 12, and their youngest son, Jason, 7.

Jackson had fully recovered when tragedy struck again.

At around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, someone called 911 to report that Telnas had been “acting strangely” while walking with two boys across the street, near the 18900 block of Avenue 184, close to Porterville, California.

Police responded to the call and found Jackson and Jason in an irrigation ditch near a cornfield. Both were unresponsive.

The boys were rushed to the hospital. Jackson passed away while Jason remains in critical condition. According to an autopsy reported, Jackson’s cause of death was listed as drowning.

Authorities arrested Telnas at the scene on suspicion of both murder and attempted murder. She’s scheduled for a court appearance Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the victims’ loved ones set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral and medical costs.

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[Feature Photo: Jackson Telnas/GoFundMe]