Friend: Pompton Lakes Dad Appeared Depressed

"He was walking in the middle of town by himself with his head down - he just didn't look like himself on Sunday," Caron Manning said.

RINGWOOD, N.J. (CBS 2/1010 WINS) –Teddy bears and cards were left outside the Birth family home in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey for 5-year-old Jada Birth and her 3-year-old brother Jordan. Police said the children were killed by their father Kurtis Birth, who then took his own life.

Investigators said Birth pulled his children out of daycare and drove them to his parents home on Skyview Road and never returned home.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

Officers discovered Jordan’s body inside the house, his sister on the stairs outside and their father with a rifle in his car — all dead by a single gunshot to the head, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

Glenn Schuck of 1010 WINS spoke with Caron Manning, the mother of one of Jada’s best friends.

“They were a very, very close family — all four were usually together,” Manning said.  “It’s heartbreaking, totally heartbreaking.”

“I don’t know how I am going to tell my daughter because she plays with Jada all the time,” Manning told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Police said the mother, 38-year-old Zoey Mendoza Birth, rushed to the scene and had to be held back.

“She did arrive at the scene and she approached police officers that were there, and she was traumatized by what she was just told,” said Ringwood Police Chief Bernard Lombordo.

The chief had to hold back tears as he spoke. “This is a type of event that rocks a community, and it… it shouldn’t happen anywhere, no less a place as great as Ringwood,” he said.

It’s the kind of horror no one in the neighborhood could comprehend.

“He seemed like a normal guy, looked like they had the perfect life,” Tom Dorsett said.

“They seemed like such nice people. Such beautiful children, it’s devastating. It really is,” neighbor Meryl Feller said.

Friends and neighbors said they had no idea what was going on behind the closed doors of the Birth’s home, but said Kurtis Birth did appear depressed over the weekend and was seen moving furniture out of their home.

Police said there was no history of domestic violence, but 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported that Birth had recently separated from his wife.

“He was walking in the middle of town by himself with his head down – he just didn’t look like himself on Sunday,” Manning said.

“I can’t imagine how a father can do that to their kids,” neighbor Jenny Goldstein said.


One Comment

  1. Mel says:

    First of all Karla, you need to learn how to spell!!! As far as Kurtis being a “loser” (which by the way is the correct spelling of the word) you don’t know him to judge him. When the REAL truth comes out he will FINALLY rest in peace and YOU’LL BE THE “JERK”.

  2. karla says:

    NO Matter what his wife did or didn’t do, he had no right to take his kids life’s a way. His kids had a future to live; he was not God to take their lives away… You are being a jerk for even saying that, he should have been a real father and should have not been so selfish and only care about him. If his wife was cheating on him, I am sure she has a reason for it (it sounds like this guy was not good at all, come on look what he did HE KILLED HIS TWO KIDS) a real man/father does such thing only a monster. How many marriages end because the wife/husband and cheat we see that every single day, we do not see a looser killing his kids every day to get back at his wife. I hope this jerk is not resting in peace… How could he be RIP?????

  3. tevin says:

    wow.. i just saw the headline of today’s paper, and realized that i knew kurt. we played ball in pequannock every weekend, me, him and mr.b. didn’t think he was capable of such a horrific crime. just saw him two months ago downtown paterson and we caught up.. my condolences go out to those who have lost… why kurt? why? always seemed he was around good pepole, and about good things..

  4. oldfriendd says:

    when u know someone, for so long, you think you know what is going on behind closed doors. only he knows what was in his head when he did that… he seemed as the most normal person who loved his friends, his family and adored his kids, but only god and him will know why…i keep asking why???? those poor babies. what went through the one’s mind after the other was shot ;( terrible….. so heartbreaking. hope those babies can watch over us all…. and i can’t ever imagine his poor wife will be able to live again

  5. terri says:

    Only GOD can judge him> we all sin everyday. this is tragedy no matter what. my prayers go out to EVERYONE even those not involved. PEACE

  6. Peter R says:

    Was there any histroy of drug use? if it was so all of the sudden isnt drug use possible? terrible tragedy sympathies go out to the family


    “JACKSON”..I Understand your pain/loss…As a woman I’ve dealt with depression over ten yrs…depression sometimes allows you to carry yourself in a productive manner, yet with a facade that everything is “OK”..I’ve shut out my friends and family because their lives appear to be “happy” and you don’t want to burden the easiest thing to do is shield it……I’M SORRY FOR YOUR FRIEND !

  8. Diana Rogic says:

    Jackson: I agree with you sometimes a person is so depressed and manage to hide it well. A person in there right mind would not do such a horrible thing. We must educate the public about depression so they know the signs and they can get help before a tragedy like this happens. My prayers are with his wife, family and friends.

  9. jackson says:

    So many times, I’ve seen this in the news and thought “what an animal” but this time, it’s different- cause I knew the man for many years. And while you’re all cursing him- know that his family and friends and coworkers that knew him a lot better than all of you are searching for answers themselves. We hugged him, worked with him, laughed with him, shared our lives together. We have seen him with his children, his wife, his family, his friends. This man was someone that would do anything for his family and friends. But something went wrong for this to have happened. He snapped- he did something that is far beyond what a normal person can believe and something I myself will always think “did I miss something, could I have done something… This is a tragedy that our family, friends and coworkers have to deal with far long after you people have past your judgement. Please, just pray for our angels lost.

  10. K, says:

    So Sad. What a coward! now he leaves his childrens mother alone. How do people get access to guns like that, it doesnt just happen. This almost sounds like it was planned. Being a father I cannot see how anyone could do something like this to their own children. It makes me wonder why this happens life is already to short, why would god allow us to do things like this?

  11. MRS I UNDERSTAND says:


  12. a friend says:

    Mourn the tradegdy, offer love and assistance if you want to do something good.
    keep your nasty comments to yourself as they are helping nobody..!

    RIP KB, JB2

  13. CC says:

    This is too sad. NO matter what happen, children are innocent and parent really has no right to take their life, such a tragedy.

  14. Joe M says:

    No matter what he should not have hurt those little angels

  15. noone says:

    KB was a friend of mine, he loved his kids Noone knows what drove him to this, we are all deeply heartbroken.

  16. Dee says:

    Ken – good question !

  17. - Ken says:

    Why take the kids to the grand parents for this?

  18. Jonanimous says:

    FU Kurtis. You didn’t deserve to die while their mother lives with the pain of losing her children. Why take the lives of these innocent children? What kind of animal does this?

    1. Dee says:

      Jonanimous – don’t disgrace animals like that – they are much better than that pice of “whatever” – at least animals kill for food.

  19. annie says:

    all you people leave comments of what you think, why don’t you just keep all the negative thoughts to yourselvs, & just say prayers for everyone involved. no one need negativitity at a time like this. have some respect.

  20. TreyDuce says:

    Why is the Chief plugging Ringwood during such an awful tragedy? The chief cries when talking about Ringwood, but not about the kids?

  21. Mario Agard says:

    Truly a sad day for that whole family, we feel deeplyfor the mother. Those kids should have been left to live life to the fullest. God Bless their souls. Again everyone, GUNS, TOO MANY OF THE WRONG PEOPLE HAVE THEM.

  22. cabo mike says:

    Absolutely unbelievable!!! Dear God please hold these two innocent children in the palm of your hand as you lead them to a better place in heaven. I pray for the mother, who’s pain can not be measured.

  23. hyacinth gumbs says:

    My Sympathy does out to the mother the childrem may their Sweet Soul Rest I n Peace.

  24. Christine says:

    My heart goes out to the innocent babies that were killed by that horrible man they called a daddy…it is better off that he did killed himself because he would of been lingering in jail with the rest of the killers awaiting trial or being set free because he claimed insanity…so it’s one less, one less…..

  25. Craig says:

    He killed the kids to inflict maximum pain on the mother. It’s a sick sort of revenge. My guess is that he loved her quite a lot at some point and he was rejected for some reason.

  26. lee says:

    Its unfortunately that the world and the people in doesn’t get any Bette. I can’t see any one man or women thinking to kill there own. Regardless of what this man was thinking its sad. But has any one who post on this site took time to realize that we look as though we all are losing our mind,just that we haven’t done silly things like this father.

  27. Gilbert says:

    wonders keep happening,the world is getting to an end, we needs Jesus Christ more than any other thing in the world,i pity the kids mum, for the kids, God will accept their souls, what a lost.

  28. JEB says:

    These are the really scary stories, when someone just snaps. No warning, no signs, no red alert. How does one protect oneself and one’s children.
    May the little angels rest in peace.

  29. Buford C says:

    We don’t know why a Father would take his childrens llives, ( unless they were already taken from him). GOD BLESS THEM ALL

  30. Never Justice says:

    And I mean that in a sense that I hope that man goes to hell for hurting innocent children… because as mother that –dad is lucky ,,,, he did himself a favor in killing himself .. because God only knows who’d go after him!!!

  31. Jose Luna says:

    The fact that anyone could take the life away of another person especially their own children is beyond me. I can not even begin to imagine the fear that went through those poor little children. Yet this F&%$%^G coward didn’t think for one minute and because he couldn’t face what he did, he decided to take his own life. I hope somehow this woman survives this trauma and I wish her comfort and healing. RIP Little Angels…

  32. Steve says:

    I cannot imagine what kind of hell the mother is in at this moment. My prayers are with her.

  33. Never Justice says:

    I cant imagine the pain their mother is going through. What did those beautiful children do to deserve this from a grown man… nothing I bet.
    Well, God now has himself two beautiful angels to watch over their mom.. :”(

  34. sharri says:

    Cliff, I agree 1000% with you! As a mom, I can feel the pain and heartache and they aren’t even mine. So heartbreaking. May their little souls rest in peace with God.

  35. Cliff says:

    Why can’t it ever go in reverse, kill yourself then the kids. As a father, this brings tears to my eyes. How anyone can hurt their children is beyond my comprehension.

  36. tabitha barnes says:

    my heart breaks for the mother.i will say a prayer for her and the children. this is the most devastating thing that can happen to a mother who gave those children life.

  37. AndreaMc says:

    What on earth could drive anyone to this level of total insanity!!!

      1. victoria says:

        I agree Kathleen, depression is a terrible disease, it’s so sad…

  38. JeannieB2R says:

    It sounds like the mother knew or suspected something odd with the father. OMG this is such a horrible tragedy. I pray for her and the children.

    1. acap says:

      I’ll bet there was a recent restraining order or some kind of custody/child support/alimony battle that the father, as is often the case will get the short end of the stick and try to get even,etc. I have seen this scenario over and over again as a medical examiner for more than 17 years and it still bothers and pains me parents killing their children. why not just themselves and or their estrange spouse…..leave the innocent children alone.

      1. Dee says:

        Acap – why are you justifying that it’s OK for these whackos to kill their current or estranged spouse??? They should kill no one, except for their sorry-butt sefl.

      2. Anonymous says:

        Kurtis had tried to commit suicide 2 weeks prior to this horrific incident. Zoey convinced him not to. Unfortunately, she will now live with that guilt for the rest of her life.

    2. Anonymous says:

      I knew this family. I’ve known them since I was very young. Kurtis and I would play video games in that condo. I would play with Jordan and Jada, they were the two most beautiful mixed children I had ever seen. I were playing with them just a few weeks ago and hearing this, I was just devastated and hysterical. I played with these kids. I recall doing a puzzle with Jada and playing ball with Jordan. Zoey is a very long term family friend that we have known for years. I pray for her and for her kids to rest in heaven.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

Get Our Morning Briefs

Listen Live