Mother who drove car with son into Jordan Lake charged with attempted murder

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Leonora Cillay is charged with attempted first-degree murder. (Chatham County Detention Center)

A mother who drove her car into Jordan Lake with her son on her lap has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Leonora Cillay of Cary had been hospitalized. Officials were waiting for her release to bring charges.

Cillay, 41, was booked and then taken before a magistrate judge in Pittsboro just after 3 p.m. Thursday.

The incident happened the morning of May 14 at the Seaforth Boat Ramp.

A family who had just launched their pontoon, came rushing back to see Cillay behind the wheel of her car with her 6-year-old son on her lap as it floated past the end of the dock and started to sink.

Among items investigators found floating in the water were vodka bottles and backpacks with documents inside from a mental health clinic in London, where Cillay is from, detailing a history of mental illness and her coping method of "deliberate self-harm."

In a bathroom near the dock, an eyewitness found a suicide note which read, "I know who I am now. I know what they plan to do with my son. I cannot let that happen. This is the best I can do for my son. I will always love him."

The family of good Samaritans that pulled Cillay and her son from the water held her back as they waited for help to arrive at the boat ramp.

Cillay was processed at the Chatham County Detention Center on a $1 million bond. She is now being held at Women's Prison - for safekeeping.

Cilley is scheduled for a court appearance June 6.

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attempted murderwater rescueJordan Lake
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