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Mother unraveled in depression, QAnon-style conspiracies in months before she killed 3 kids

Matt Hamilton and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — Liliana Carrillo’s unraveling over the last year alarmed people in her life.

On Facebook, she spoke of “random invasive feelings of despair and pain.” She said she was “hating being a parent” to her brood of young children and wished she could go back in time.

“I have absolutely no patience or tolerance left,” she added.

More recently, she began to echo the delusion of QAnon believers. She was consumed by the idea that Porterville was the site of a child sex-trafficking ring, according to court records, and contended that the blame for the pandemic rested on her shoulders.

It was clear she was struggling with postpartum depression, with anger, with childhood trauma and with the frustrations of young motherhood, her boyfriend, the father of her children, recounted in court records.

Last month, the situation got gravely worse. She started making wild allegations of child abuse, according to court records. Social workers and police in two counties got involved. The children’s father, Erik Denton, convinced a judge to award him physical custody of their three children, saying Carrillo was experiencing a psychotic episode and he feared for the kids’ well-being.


But Joanna, 3; Terry, 2; and Sierra, 6 months, remained with Carrillo.

Last weekend, a day before Denton said Carrillo was to turn the children over to him, her mother discovered the three grandchildren dead in the Reseda apartment. In an extraordinary television interview from a Bakersfield jail on Thursday, Carrillo confessed to killing the kids, saying she was trying to protect them from sex trafficking.

“I drowned them,” she said, claiming she did so “softly.” She added, “I hugged them and I kissed them and I was apologizing the whole time.”

“Do I wish that I didn’t have to do that? Yes,” Carrillo said. “But I prefer them not being tortured and abused on a regular basis for the rest of their lives.”


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