Local News

Report: Mother who drove into Jordan Lake thought organization was after son

Posted May 23, 2016 6:25 p.m. EDT
Updated May 26, 2016 6:25 p.m. EDT

— A mother who drove her car into Jordan Lake with her 5-year-old son inside had empty liquor bottles in the vehicle and claimed she was trying to save her son, according to an incident report released last week.

Leonora Cillay drove her car off the Seaforth Boat Ramp on the morning of May 14. Cillay and her son, Ben Cillay, were rescued by a family who had just launched their pontoon boat from the area.

According to a North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation case incident report, beer cans and at least two bottles of vodka were found floating near the car as it sank. The car was also filled with important paperwork belonging to Leonora Cillay and her son, including social security cards, passports, and credit cards that had been placed inside a Radio-Frequency Identification blocker.

During the course of the initial investigation, Leonora Cillay repeatedly asked officers to remove their sunglasses so she could see their eyes, saying “I need to connect with people, look me in the eyes.” She also made strange statements, including saying “North Carolina is a gray state.”

Leonora Cillay, who is originally from London, England, told officers that she was trying to save her son and that “an organization was after her son and this was the best option,” the report said. She told officers that they could find all the information they needed in an online blog post, that officers said they could not find.

In her blog post, which WRAL News located, Leonora Cillay mentions that she had her son tested for several illnesses and believed he could be targeted by terrorists through a bio-chemical attack on school water. The blog states that Leonora Cillay had previously been in therapy.

A witness on the scene had discovered a suicide note at the scene that said "I know who I am not. I know what they plan to do with Ben. I cannot let that happen. This is the best I can do for Ben."

Ben Cillay would not speak to officers and Leonora Cillay said he did not talk. When asked how she communicates with him, she responded “I just know, I just know,” the report said.

As officers attempted to aid her son, Leonora Cillay repeatedly asked to see the boy even though he was only a few feet away, investigators said.

Leonora Cillay was eventually handcuffed by officers due to her lack of cooperation and she and her son were transported to UNC Hospital. Ben Cillay was put on oxygen and vomited several times before slumping over in the ambulance, the report said.

According to the report, doctors believed Ben Cillay had been underwater for a significant amount of time. His condition was unknown Monday night.

Officials with the State Bureau of Investigation said Leonora Cillay will likely face charges in connection with the incident.