Family members outline troubled past of Sherri Telnas

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- En route to Montana, to meet with their grieving loved ones Tim Telnas and Elinor Brown shared their devastation after Saturday's tragic news involving their nephews.

"I will never unhear the wail that came out of my mother in law when I told her," said Brown.

It was Saturday, and Brown had just learned her 12-year-old nephew Jackson Telnas had been killed and his 7-year-old brother, Jacob Ray Telnas critically injured.

RELATED: Tulare County mother accused of killing her 12-year-old child and seriously injuring 7-year-old

Tulare County Sheriff's investigators say it was 5:30 Saturday morning when they were called to Avenue 184 outside of Porterville.

Upon arrival, they found two boys unconscious in an irrigation ditch. The neighbor who called 9-1-1 and the boy's grandmother was trying to revive the pair when deputies took over before transporting them.

"None of us believed it at first, because we found out through an old co-worker and at first it was like, 'Oh yeah that happened ten years ago,'" said Brown, referencing a 2008 incident with Sherri.

At the time, Sherri Telnas was 34 and living in Mineral County, Montana. That's when, according to the local newspaper, the Mineral Independent, she allegedly attempted to drown her son Jackson, then 10-months-old.

Telnas pleaded no contest to two lesser charges of criminal endangerment as part of a plea agreement with the Mineral County Attorney's Office.

"It is beyond devastating there is a lot of guilt held by most of my family," said Brown. "I am doing everything I can to hold us together as much as possible.

According to Tim Telnas and Brown, the 2008 incident drove a wedge between the family. They had not spoken to their nephews for years.

"Sherri wasn't on the best of terms with the rest of the family," said Brown.

In a family photo, Jackson is seen smiling ear-to-ear. His aunt and uncle describe him as a loving kid with a great sense of humor.


"He was very smart, clever, quick-witted, and he was definitely a people person," said Tim Telnas.

They say seven-year-old Jacob Ray Telnas is selfless and empathetic.

Family Members are now trying to get his father, Jacob Telnas Sr. to Valley Children's Hospital, where his young son remains in the Intensive Care Unit.

"We are not really sure what's going to happen with little Jacob, and we need to get big Jacob to California as soon as possible," said Brown.

Sherri Telnas, 45, has been taken into custody in Tulare County.
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