Northern Suburbs News
Memorials growing for family in Hudson tragedy
NEWBURGH (WABC) -- A family and community are struggling with the tragedy of a woman who drowned herself and her three young children in the Hudson River. They have been attending small prayer services and vigils near the water's edge. Now, new details are emerging from Newburgh about the family's final moments and the young survivor who escaped.
Armstrong then drove her minivan off a boat ramp in Newburgh into the Hudson River with all four of her children inside.
Thursday, Eyewitness News spoke to Armstrong's mother, and brother. "I'm not doing good, my father died in January now in four months I lost three generations of my family, everyday is a struggle for me," said Datrice Armstrong.
As the car sank, Armstrong's 10-year-old son Lashaun Armstrong managed to open a window, climb out and swim to shore. A Good Samaritan, Mavis Ryan, spotted the shivering boy and drove him to the fire department.
"He just kept repeating, 'Please, help my mommy, help my mommy. She's in the water,'" dispatcher Ismael Torres said.
Torres tried to get information about where firefighters would find the car.
"The little boy was unable to give me any answers," he said. "You could tell the condition he was in. He was in a state of shock, disbelief. He was very nervous, and he just stated that he was in the water."
"What were the little ones like? Little grasshoppers, springs full of life and just wish they could have enjoyed it longer," said Lashanda's brother, Lenny.
So far the most chilling account has been from Meave Ryan, the Good Samaritan who encountered Lashaun just moments after he escaped from the sinking minivan.
"As the car was going into the water slowly, she went into the middle row of the back seat and held all of the children together, and said, 'If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me,'" Ryan said. "She said that two or three times."
Armstrong had been arguing with the father of her three youngest children earlier in the afternoon, Later, after making her deadly decision, she had an apparent change of heart.
"As water was coming into the car, she said, 'I made a mistake, I made a mistake,'" Ryan said.
Even Lashanda's last words written on her Facebook page were haunting: "I'm sorry everyone forgive me please for what I'm gonna do, this is it!"
Forensic experts say that in their delusional state, depressed and suicidal mothers sometimes think they are doing the loving thing by taking their children with them.
Lashaun Armstrong suffered from mild hypothermia and is staying with family members.
newburgh, orange county, child death, northern suburbs news
- Bus accident on Route 3 in Clifton 25 min ago
- AccuWeather: Warmer days ahead
- Live: Eyewitness News on 7online streamed live!
- iWitness Photos and Videos
- Target: 40 million accounts may be involved in breach
- Consumer Reports: Nasty Chicken
- 10 hurt when NJ Transit bus, cab collide in Newark
- Human error contributed in delay of Ariel Russo 911 response
- Photos: Bus, taxi collide in Newark
- Annual 'Pokey,' 'Schleppie' awards for MTA bus service
- Rangel announces run for 23rd term
- Jersey City main breaks; boil water advisory in effect
- Screw Magazine publisher Al Goldstein dies at 77
- Georgia winner of Mega Millions jackpot comes forward
Eyewitness News Links
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos