Crime

Computers seized from Cary home of woman who drove into Jordan Lake

The State Bureau of Investigation took computers and a notebook from the Cary home of a woman who is accused of trying to kill her 5-year-old son by driving her car into Jordan Lake on May 14, according to a search warrant returned to the Wake County court clerk’s office.

Leonora Jane Cillay, 41, was charged with attempted first-degree murder of her son in what SBI agent P.A. Stevens said also appeared to be a suicide attempt, when the car Cillay was driving sped down a boat ramp at the state park’s Seaforth access.

The search warrant was granted May 26 for the two-story house at 205 Caniff Lane, and Stevens and a state park ranger searched it the next day.

The warrant, with an inventory of what was taken from the house, was returned to the clerk Thursday.

Stevens told Superior Court Judge Paul C. Ridgeway, who issued the search warrant, that interviews with five witnesses indicated that Cillay had driven into the water with the boy in her arms on the front seat and that she was fighting against people who tried to rescue her.

A pontoon boat was pushing the car back toward land while David J. Caveness was on the bow, reaching through a partially opened sunroof to pull out Cillay, the witnesses told Stevens.

Cillay closed the sunroof on Caveness’ hand, but it opened again and he was able to pull her out, Stevens said.

Caveness also pulled the boy from the car through a back window after the window broke, the car was filling with water, and he knocked out remaining glass, Stevens said.

On the shore, Stevens said, officials found a possible suicide note and a set of keys. Floating in the water above the car were liquor bottles that Caveness told Stevens he had seen inside the car when he was reaching for Cillay, the agent wrote.

Stevens said Cillay’s husband told him that Leonora Cillay had left the Caniff Lane house with their son about an hour before Chatham County’s communications center began getting 911 calls about the car going into the lake.

From the house, Stevens said, he took paperwork and notebooks from a desk, an iPad, a Macintosh mini-computer, a Macbook Pro computer and an external hard drive.

Leonora Cillay was arrested the same day the search warrant was issued and was booked into the Chatham County Detention Center. The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office transferred her later that day to the state Correctional Institution for Women, in Raleigh, to ensure her safety.

Cillay has a court session in the case on July 25, court calendars showed.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT

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