Mom Allegedly Killed 12-Year-Old Son That She Had Tried to Kill as a Baby

July 1, 2019 Updated: July 1, 2019

A Central California woman was arrested for killing her 12-year-old son and injuring her 7-year-old son after they were found unresponsive in a ditch.

Officials said Sherri Renee Telnas, 45, the mother, was convicted of trying to drown the 12-year-old when he was a baby, according to a report.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office wrote that Telnas “was acting strangely and had taken her two male children (ages 7 and 12) to a field across the street,” according to a June 29 Facebook post.

“While Deputies were en-route to the scene they were notified the two children were found in a full irrigation ditch near a corn field and were not responsive,” the office wrote.

Deputies then arrived and gave the children medical aid before the pair were rushed to a nearby hospital. The 12-year-old boy was pronounced dead from his injuries, said the office.

Telnas was then taken into custody by sheriff’s officials.

The boy’s cause of death is still under investigation, and an autopsy is scheduled. Meanwhile, the 7-year-old is still in critical condition, said officials in a statement.

The Missoulian newspaper reported that Telnas, in 2009, was convicted in Montana of trying to drown the 12-year-old boy when he was a 10-month-old infant. She was sentenced to 20 years in the of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Prosecutors alleged that she was “in the throes of mental illness” when she trying to drown herself and the baby in a river. Eventually, she took the baby to the hospital, admitting “I tried to drown my baby,” according to the newspaper.

As a result, she pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal endangerment and ordered to undergo mental health treatment, the Missoulian reported.

A prosecutor said at the time of sentencing that her punishment would “[ensure] that this won’t be repeated.”

After the drowning attempt, the 12-year-old was put in the custody of his father, Jacob Telnas, according to the paper. It’s not clear how the boys got to be in her custody, and it is also not clear why she was in California.

“We are aware of the Montana incident,” Ashley Ritchie, a spokeswoman for the Tulare County sheriff, told the Visalia Times-Delta. “We are working with multiple agencies to confirm the details.”

The Tulare County Violent Crimes Investigations Unit is currently investigating the matter.

Those with information about the case can call Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Unit Det. Miguel Franco or Sergeant Gary Marks at (559) 802-9563 or (800) 808-0488. Anonymous information about this crime can be reported via Tipnow email tcso@tipnow.net, text or voicemail at 559-725-4194, or download the Tipnow app for Android or Apple phones.

Facts About Crime in the US

Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.

The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.

(Mark Makela/Getty Images)

“From 1993 to 2017, the rate of violent victimization declined 74 percent, from 79.8 to 20.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older,” the U.S. Department of Justice stated.

Both studies are based on data up to and including 2017, the most recent year for which complete figures are available.

The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.

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