Mother Kills Herself And Three Children By Driving Minivan Into River

Wed, April 13, 2011 5:46pm EST by 5 Comments

How could a mother kill her own children? An expert says she may have been suffering from post-partum depression.

Lashanda Armstrong, 25, of Newburgh, NY, who had just been in a domestic dispute, loaded her four children into her minivan Tuesday night, April 12, and drove towards the Hudson River. One child, a 10-year-old boy named Leshaun, escaped from the minivan after his mother drove him and his three younger siblings, two boys, Landon and Lance, ages 5 and 2, and an 11-month-old girl, Lainaina, off a boat ramp into the river. But what possessed her to do something like this?

Leshaun escaped from a window in the car and swam to shore, before being taken to a nearby firehouse by a passer-by. But it was too late. Lashandra and her three younger children were found dead about an hour later by police divers, submerged in 10 feet of water about 25 yards off shore. “It’s a horrible sight, all of them in the car,” Newburgh Police Chief Michael Ferrara told the Times Herald-Record newspaper.

Why did this woman kill her children after a fight with her husband? Why?

“There are things we don’t know, there are several possibilities,” psychatrist Dr. Gail Saltzberg tells the Today show. “Was there a mental illness involved, was there any depression involved, was there any drugs or alcohol involved?”

Dr. Saltzberg added that the mother may have been suffering from post-partum depression after the birth of her 11-month-old girl. “Women can become psychotically depressed and do something terrible,” she explains.

So, why did the mother let her 10-year-old son go? Dr. Saltzberg says that it might be because he is more defined as an individual, while the woman’s younger children were still “her babies” and “a part of her.”

We just feel terrible for the young boy who knows has to live with this for the rest of his life. Just a tragically sad situation.

–Leigh Blickley

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