SEE IT: Mother confesses to drowning her 3 children ‘softly,’ says she was protecting them from human trafficking

A California woman accused of killing her three children opened up during a jailhouse interview this week, and reportedly admitted she drowned her kids.

KGET 17 News spoke exclusively with 30-year-old Liliana Carrillo, at the Lerdo Pre-trial Facility on Thursday. Carrillo is currently being held behind bars on charges of robbery; the charges could be upgraded once officials release the causes of death for her children.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the children’s grandmother came home from work at about 9:30 a.m. on April 10 and found them dead inside a Reseda apartment. Carrillo had already fled the scene, but police caught up with her nearly 200 miles away.

Investigators said Carrillo headed north in her own vehicle but abandoned it after some kind of altercation in the Bakersfield area, the Associated Press reports. At that point, police said, she carjacked a vehicle and continued north in a stolen silver Toyota pickup truck.

Early reports from the scene of the crime said that the children were stabbed to death, but LA police backtracked and said a cause of death has not been determined. Investigators also pointed out that it appeared as if the children had been bludgeoned.

Facebook photo: Erik Denton and Liliana Carillo with children Joanna, Terry, & Sierra 

While speaking with KGET News, Carrillo admitted that she drowned her three children, a 6-month old, a 2-year-old, and a 3-year-old, after her husband had plans to traffic them.

“I drowned them,” Carrillo said, “I wasn’t about to hand my children off to be further abused.”

Carrillo explained that she did everything she could to protect the children from their father, Erik Denton, but a judge ultimately signed an emergency custody order, which mandated that Carillo hand the children over to Denton.

“I believe my children were already groomed and I was being groomed as well. I think I was targeted because of the work that I had done. I was a very impactful communicator and leader,” Carillo said.

“My daughter was vocalizing she was hurting down below and it wasn’t the first time, and I went through every avenue as I should as a parent.”

FILE – In this April 12, 2021, file photo, photos, candles, flowers and balloons are placed as a memorial for three children who were killed at the Royal Villa apartments complex in the Reseda section of Los Angeles. A California woman suspected of killing her three children in the midst of a bitter custody battle said Thursday, April 15 that she drowned them to keep them away from their father, a television station reported. In a jailhouse interview, Liliana Carrillo told KGET-TV that she wanted to “protect” them from abuse, the station reported. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Denton, however, told police that Carrillo struggled with postpartum depression for years. He said she was out of touch with reality, hiding with the children and if someone didn’t intervene soon, something would happen to them.

Denton wrote in court papers that Carrillo talked about suicide and self-medicated with marijuana. He also wrote that Carillo was “extremely paranoid,” erratic, and claimed she was the one responsible for COVID-19 in Portersville, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Denton ultimately obtained the emergency order in March from a Tulare County judge. The emergency order required Carrillo to give the children to Denton. Visits between Carrillo and her children were to occur only at a facility in Porterville, Fox Los Angeles reports.

Denton and Carrillo later met at a police station where Denton demanded his three children. An officer informed her of the consequences of violating the court order, but Carrillo allegedly didn’t heed the warning.

Carrillo was expected to give the children to Denton a day after the apparent killings occurred. A hearing in their ongoing custody case was also scheduled for the following Wednesday.

“I drowned them. I did it as softly, I don’t know how to explain it,” Carillo said. “I promised them when they were born that I was going to protect them. I hugged them and I kissed them and I was apologizing the whole time.”

When confronted with what Denton said about her mental health, Carrillo replied,” Of course he’s going to say I’m crazy; I’m not crazy.”

Authorities have not released any information or evidence that substantiates Carrillo’s human trafficking claim.

Carrillo remains jailed on suspicion of second-degree robbery with a $2 million bond. Authorities have not released an official cause of death for her three children.

“I loved my kids,” Carrillo added. “Like I said, I wish that this didn’t have to be the case.”

“I hugged them and I kissed them and I’m apologizing the whole time…I loved my kids, I loved my kids.”

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode. 

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.

[Featured Photo: Liliana Carrillo, Police Handout/Denton Children, GoFundMe]