Local News

Mother who drove into Jordan Lake charged with attempted murder

Posted May 26, 2016

— A mother who drove her car into Jordan Lake almost two weeks ago with her 5-year-old son inside was charged Thursday with attempted murder.

State Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Leonora Jane Cillay, 41, of 205 Caniff Lane in Cary, upon her release from UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. She was being held under a $1 million bond at Central Prison in Raleigh under "safekeeping" status.

Cillay drove her car off the Seaforth Boat Ramp, off U.S. Highway 64, on May 14. Cillay and her son, Ben Cillay, were rescued by a family who had just launched their pontoon boat from the ramp.

Cillay, who is originally from London, England, told park rangers that she was trying to save her son and that "an organization was after her son and this was the best option," an incident report from the state Division of Parks and Recreation states. She told rangers that they could find all the information they needed in an online blog post.

In her blog, Cillay mentions that she had Ben tested for several illnesses and believed he could be targeted by terrorists through a biochemical attack on school water. The blog states that Cillay had previously been in therapy.

Rangers recovered various papers from the car when it was pulled from the lake, including health records suggesting Cillay had been treated for mental health issues in England. Some records were inside a radio frequency-blocking bag.

Cillay acted strangely as rangers tried to investigate the incident, asking people to remove their sunglasses so she could see their eyes and demanding to see her son, who was a few feet away from her, according to the incident report.

A witness found a suicide note inside a bathroom near the boat ramp that said, "I know who I am now. I know what they plan to do with Ben. I cannot let that happen. This is the best I can do for Ben," the report states.

Authorities said Ben has been released from UNC Hospitals after receiving treatment.


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