SOUTH BEND – 20 to 30.
That’s the number of times Jacqueline Wilk told a detective she’d found her kids playing in her car in the past.
That’s how many times she heard them knocking from inside the trunk and let them out.
Wednesday was day 3 of Wilk’s child neglect trial.
She’s accused of not watching her boys on a hot June day in 2011.
The 2- and 4-year-old somehow got into her the car trunk and later died.
Wilk is planning to take the witness stand before the end of her trial, but in a taped interview she gave a Metro Homicide detective four days after she found her boys in her car trunk, she claimed she was sleeping, studying, texting and facebooking on and off on June 17, the day this happened.
She also admitted she searched for them at least an hour before finding them locked in the hot trunk of her car.
During the taped interview, a detective tried to nail down a timeline of events on June 17 that led to Wilk finding her two little boys in her car trunk.
Wilk said she went to bed between 3 and 4 that morning.
Then maybe around 10 or 11 a.m., her 4-year-old peed in her bed, and the boys were in and out of her room a few times after that.
She remembered seeing a missed call on her cell phone at 11:47 a.m.
Then at 2:04 p.m., Wilk realized she hadn’t seen or heard her boys for a while, so she began searching for them.
She called 911 at 2:58 p.m.
“If I would have just locked my doors, they never would have got in there. They’re always unlocked,” she sobbed to the detective.
Later in that interview, Detective Galen Pelletier told her “I’m not saying you’re a bad mom. If you fell asleep….”
“It’s bad, yes it is,” Wilk cried. “No matter what anybody thinks, I blame myself, and I’ve gotta deal with it for the rest of my life.”
After watching the interview, the defense attorney grilled Pelletier on the witness stand.
“Jacki told you when she was in the basement that she could hear the kids, but she couldn’t see them, right?" asked Wilk’s attorney, Chuck Lahey.
“ Yes,” replied the detective.
“Well, if she could hear the children but not see them, that indicates she wasn’t asleep,” Lahey added.
“She did say she could have fallen asleep,” said the detective.
It seems both the state and the defense agree the boys unlocked the front door of the house, got into Wilk’s unlocked car, pushed a “trunk release” button on the driver’s side and climbed into the trunk.
Wilk said her 2-year-old was strong enough to shut himself in the trunk and had done it before.
She had scolded the kids when that happened though.
Wilk's mother and stepfather took the stand late Wednesday afternoon. Both testified they never knew the boys to sneak out of the home without supervision, and he never knew them to play in Wilk's car unless she was right there. Plus, they said she had only had the car two months.
Before the judge sent everyone home for the day, Wilk's mother and stepfather also talked about how medication given to Wilk by a doctor to help her sleep caused her not to act like herself during that taped interview.
Wilk is expected to take the witness stand on Thursday.