And now, we are taking a deeper look, tonight, at the story behind those harrowing pictures. The mother who drove her minivan full of children into the ocean, before strangers came to their rescue.... See More
And now, we are taking a deeper look, tonight, at the story behind those harrowing pictures. The mother who drove her minivan full of children into the ocean, before strangers came to their rescue. So, what could police have done before it happened? And could anyone have happened here? Here's what ABC's Steve osunsami found out. Reporter: This heart-pounding scene on the beach. That's different. Reporter: It looked like the mother driving into the ocean was trying to drown herself, her three young children, and her unborn child. And today, we're learning that 32-year-old ebony Wilkerson may have been a woman in crisis. She's having psychosis or something or postpartum. Reporter: This was her sister in Florida calling 911 before Wilkerson made that drive. What is she doing? She's talking about Jesus. And that there's demons in my house. And that I'm trying to control her. But I'm trying to keep them safe. Reporter: The men with the fast feet and strong arms who rescued her children say she looked mentally disturbed. Watch closely. She's fighting with them in the surf. When I was speaking to her, her eyes were like -- Reporter: Just wide. Wide. Reporter: We're learning a Daytona Beach police officer pulled the mother over with the kids inside about two hours before she reached the beach. And he let her go. Police saying there was nothing more they could do. It was clear during my conversation that Wilkerson was suffering from some sort of mental illness. But she was lucid and did not provide any signs that met baker act requirements. The baker act is Florida's mental health law. It says that police have to have clear, hard evidence of harm before they can take a person into custody. Medical professionals tell us Wilkerson could have easily been suffering from psychiatric disorders, rare in some pregnancies. It could be a very dangerous combination to where they could be hearing voices. You need to die and take your kids with you. That's the only way you guys are ever going to be together. Reporter: This time, things turned out differently. The three young children they pulled from the minivan remain safe tonight in state care. Steve osunsami, ABC news, Daytona Beach.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.