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Mother drives minivan into Hudson River killing herself and three young children


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  • Mother drives minivan into Hudson River killing herself and three young children

    This makes me sick!


    Police are investigating a horrifying incident in Orange County in which a woman drove her minivan into the Hudson River, drowning herself and her three children.

    Authorities believe that the woman, 25-year-old Lashandra Armstrong, drove off the boat ramp at the foot of Washington Street in Newburgh and into the Hudson River around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

    The minivan, Armstrong, her 5- and 2-year-old sons and her 11-month-old baby girl were pulled dead from the water an hour later, around 9 p.m. Fire Chief Michael Vatter says the woman's 10-year-old son, Lashaun Armstrong, was able to escape the van by rolling down the power window after the car entered the river. He swam to shore, where a woman passing by found him soaking wet and ran with him to authorities. That woman has been identified as Mavis Ryan.

    The family only lives a few blocks from the scene.
    Newburgh police say they got a 911 call about a domestic dispute between Armstrong and 26-year-old husband Jean Pierre, the father of three of her four children, around 7:45 p.m. The call was reportedly placed by concerned relatives who lived in Rockland County. Police say no one was at the home when they responded.

    About 10 minutes later, Lashaun Armstrong arrived at a fire house and told firefighters that his mom had driven into the Hudson.

    "The car was located, it was below surface," Newburgh police chief Michael Ferrara said. "And it took about an hour to get the car out of the water. And we have one adult and three children in the car."

    Police say they had to use a heavy-duty tow truck to get the car out, and that the scene was cleared around 10:30.

    "The whole scene, what occurred in Newburgh, will have lasting effect on this city," Mayor Nick Valentine said. "No matter what type of investigating you do, this will always be something that will be remembered in a sad way."

    The dead children have been identified as 5-year-old Landon Pierre, 2-year-old Lance Pierre and 11-month-old Lainaina Pierre.

    The Medical Examiner will determine the exact cause of death and verify that the children were all alive when the van entered the water.

    Neighbors on Wednesday recalled Lashondra Armstrong as an attentive mother who balanced care of her children with an outside job.

    "She was a very good mom," said Tina Claybourne, who lives nearby. "She took care of her kids. She always was with her kids."

  • #2
    It is just sad. These kids deserved to enjoy everything that a life could offer, and yet, their lives were taken away from very same person who birth to them.

    Rest in peace little angels.


    • #3
      . . .and I quote:
      "She was a very good mom," said Tina Claybourne, who lives nearby. "She took care of her kids. She always was with her kids."
      She was a good mom, eh? Really? If she was such a great "mother/mom", then why did she did MURDER her own children? She was selfish in my opinion and took out her frustrations on her children.

      Damage control mode, what about the boy who survived? I can't begin to even imagine what that boy must be going through and having his childhood taken away from him because his mom decided to murder his siblings.

      That "good mom" is guilty of murder.


      • #4
        FYI, from the NY Post:


        10-year-old climbed out of mom's death van


        Last Updated: 8:19 AM, April 14, 2011

        Posted: 2:51 AM, April 14, 2011

        A 10-year-old boy, knowing he had only seconds to live, made an incredible escape from his family's sinking minivan -- moments before it carried his disturbed mother and three young siblings to their doom at the bottom of the Hudson River.

        The drama unfolded after a depressed Lashanda Armstrong, 25, decided to die and horrifically packed her four kids -- Lashaun Armstrong, 10, Landen Pierre, 5, Lance Pierre, 2, and 11-month-old Lainaina Pierre -- into the van.

        She then deliberately drove down a boat ramp in upstate Newburgh and into the frigid river at about 8 p.m. Tuesday

        When the van hit the river, she told her terrified kids, "You're going to die with me," WNBC/Channel 4 reported last night.

        But as the van filled with water, Lashaun -- showing an incredible will to live and remarkable resourcefulness -- sprang into action.

        First, he frantically began fiddling with the knobs and buttons on his door.

        "He was looking for the doorknob but managed to push the button for the power window before the electricity went out," said Fire Chief Michael Vatter. But the window that opened was on the driver's side -- forcing the tenacious child to climb over his murderous mother -- whose last words to him reportedly were, "I made a mistake."

        He wriggled out the window just before the van went under.

        Lashaun fought the current and managed to swim about 25 feet to the shore.

        "He got up onto the boat ramp, turned around, and [the van] was gone," Vatter said.

        Cops said it took only two minutes for it to sink.

        A passing motorist, Meave Ryan, spotted the drenched, trembling boy on the side of the road and drove him to a nearby fire station.

        "He was very shaken up, soaking wet, probably suffering from a little hypothermia," said Vatter. When the stunned firefighters began speaking to the boy, "he had difficulty getting it out," Vatter said.

        "He just kept repeating over and over, the car was in the water with his mom and siblings."

        Ryan, who witnessed the interview, told Channel 4 the little boy said that right before she put the kids in the van, his mother fought with his stepfather, Jean Pierre, 26, father of the kids who died. She accused him of infidelity.

        As they sped toward the river, the boy said, his mom called her own mother from the van and told her, "I'm doing something crazy."

        Minutes later, they hit the water and she uttered her awful farewell to her family. As Lashaun swam away, he turned and saw her one last time -- and heard her admit her "mistake."

        "The fear on his face, I'll never forget," Ryan said.

        He told the firefighters that he learned how to swim over the summer and regrets not teaching his younger siblings.

        Lashaun at one point turned to Ryan and asked her, "Why did I live?" she told CBS/Channel 2.

        After an hour, cops and firefighters found the van and pulled it out of the river with the four bodies inside.

        There were no skid marks to indicate the mom had any second thoughts about the horrible act she was about to commit.

        She was likely going about 20 mph, although it could have been less, said police Lt. Bruce Campbell, adding, "There's really not enough room to go fast."

        Police Chief Michael Ferrara said, "This is a very difficult tragedy for our department. It hasn't been easy, especially because we have such young officers who have families."

        Friends struggling to understand Armstrong's motives said she had been upset over her troubled relationship with Pierre. Cops questioned him yesterday.

        About 10 minutes before Armstrong's fateful drive, police went to her home just blocks from the scene.

        They'd been called by Armstrong's aunt Angela Edge-Gilliam, who said there was "tussling" in the home between Pierre and her niece. Edge-Gilliam also told cops that there was a history of domestic problems, police said.

        Cops quickly arrived, but the apartment was empty.

        "She was a good mother," said Edge-Gilliam. "She was going through some stuff."

        As for the brave little boy, Edge-Gilliam said he was recovering, adding, "He had the strength to get out and go for help."

        Shaniesha Strange, 32, an employee at Young and Unique Christian Children's Childcare Center, which all four kids had attended, was sympathetic toward the troubled mother, who was 15 when she had Lashaun.

        "She didn't have anybody," Strange told The Post. "It's sad for her to feel so alone."

        Strange said Armstrong worked at a garment factory while going to a local community college.

        Recently, Armstrong told the day care's management not to let Pierre pick up any of her children.

        She said "she was going to get a court order against him," said Desiree Watson, the owner.

        Cops said they knew of no previous domestic violence in the home, but Armstrong had asked her landlord to change the locks on her apartment.

        Last summer, Armstrong confronted a woman who claimed she had an affair with Pierre. That woman, who refused to give her name, told her the fling was over.

        On the day she killed her kids, a preoccupied Armstrong showed up early at the day-care center.

        "She just seemed like something was bothering her," said Strange. "But she didn't say what. She wouldn't even look at me."

        Despite her odd behavior, no one could have predicted Armstrong would end her own life and the those of the children she seemed to adore.

        "They were lovely kids. Her approach was always good. The kids were well dressed and well taken care of," said a stunned Watson.

        Lashaun was known for always helping his mother.

        "He'd tell the other kids to put on their shoes, put on their shirts. He's smart," said Carmen Divila, who is affiliated with a church next door to the Armstrongs' home.
        The family:

        And the lady, Meave Ryan, that helped boy:

        Stay safe every one.
        Last edited by Raiden; 04-14-2011, 08:09 AM.


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