Man Accused of Purposely Driving Down Sunset Cliffs With Daughters in Vehicle Pleads Not Guilty

After their rescue, the father and two toddlers were taken to an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries

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The man accused of kidnapping his two young daughters and purposely driving down Sunset Cliffs pleaded not guilty Monday to several charges that included attempted murder and kidnapping.

Robert Brians, 47, was arrested after police said he intentionally drove off Sunset Cliffs with his twin 2-year-old daughters in the vehicle in what was possibly a suicide attempt.

At about 4:30 a.m. the morning of the incident, the girls’ mother called authorities to report Brians took their daughters and threatened to drive his vehicle off a cliff with them inside. The defendant threatened to drive off Coronado Bay Bridge, but was spotted by officers traveling through Point Loma just before he plunged off Sunset Cliffs near Hill Street, police said.

San Diego Police K-9 Officer Jonathan Wiese told NBC 7 that upon arriving at the scene, he saw the vehicle upside down in the water, which was about a 30-foot drop from the cliff. Using a 100-foot leash to travel down the cliff, Wiese made his way toward the trio and spotted the father holding his two daughters in the water, struggling to tread the waters.

Following the successful rescue, medics took Brians and the two toddlers to an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

NBC 7's Ramon Galindo has more information on the cliff rescue .

Brians faced a judge via video conference at the San Diego Central Courthouse for a slew of charges in connection to the June 13 incident. He pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, attempted murder, child abuse, child abduction and criminal threats.

A protective order was filed for his twin daughters and their mother.

He was ordered to be held without bail. He is scheduled to appear in court for a readiness trial on July 22.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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