A man confessed to intentionally crashing his family’s car through a barrier and into the Detroit River in a plot to kill his wife and children, police said Friday. All four children drowned.
Lawrence DeLisle, 28, wearing a white jail jumpsuit, stood silently during arraignment before 27th District Judge Lawrence Emmert. DeLisle and his wife survived the Aug. 3 accident after boaters tossed them life preservers.
DeLisle told police Thursday that “he intentionally pressed down on the gas with the intention of driving into the Detroit River . . . with the intent of getting rid of his wife and children,” Sgt. Daniel Galeski testified.
Emmert ordered DeLisle held without bond pending an Aug. 17 preliminary examination.
Family members said DeLisle, of Lincoln Park, was taken into custody Thursday after he and his wife, Suzanne, submitted to polygraph tests.
“The premeditation goes back some time, and the opportunity presented itself,” Police Chief Edward Rothermal said at a news conference.
Police were not seeking charges against Mrs. DeLisle, 32.
“The facts of the investigation reveal she had nothing to do with this,” Rothermal said.
DeLisle initially said a leg cramp caused him to floor the accelerator. Mrs. DeLisle said she tried to stop the car by turning off the ignition and shifting gears before the car struck the barrier. Brian, 8; Melissa, 4; Kadie, 2, and Emily, 8 months, were killed.
Rick Stoneburner, a witness to the accident who threw life preservers to the couple from a boat, said the father appeared exhausted and Mrs. DeLisle was hysterical, crying: “I am not leaving without my children! Save my children! They are under water!”
A memorial service for the children is scheduled today in Taylor.
William DeLisle, Lawrence DeLisle’s uncle, said Mrs. DeLisle had called him Thursday night to say her husband was in jail.
“She didn’t say why,” William DeLisle said. “This is worse than what happened five days ago. I don’t know what it is. I’m going to find out as quick as I can.”
When asked if DeLisle’s detention made him doubt his nephew’s story, William DeLisle said: “Certainly I have doubts. The boy’s in jail.”