NEWBURGH, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The mother who drowned herself and her three children left a chilling goodbye on Facebook.
Just minutes before LaShanda Armstrong drove her minivan into the Hudson River, she posted a final message – but no one knew what she would do next, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.
LaShanda Armstrong’s mother said the last words she heard her daughter speak were an apology for her dark decision.
“She said she was sorry,” Datrice Armstrong said.
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“I’m so sorry everyone forgive me please for what I’m gonna do…. This Is It!!!!” the message, posted on Armstrong’s Facebook page at 7:13 p.m. Tuesday from a BlackBerry, said.
Less than an hour later, Armstrong drove the minivan, loaded with her four children, into the river.
Relatives of Armstrong said she was suffering from paranoia right before the tragedy, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports.
Datrice Armstrong, LaShanda’s mother, spoke exclusively with CBS 2.
“I’m still hurting. I will be forever hurting for the rest of my life,” she said.
Police said Armstrong loaded her four children into the family minivan Tuesday night and intentionally drove it into the Hudson River. She drowned, along with her 11-month-old daughter Laianna and two of her sons, 5-year-old Lance and 2-year-old Landon.
“I can’t hear nothing no more from them. I can’t see them no more. I can’t hold them no more. I can’t do none of that,” said Datrice.
The lone survivor, 10-year-old LaShaun, was also in the van but was able to escape through a window. He swam to shore and flagged down a passing car, giving the driver a chilling account of what happened.
“Before she went into the water, she managed to get into the backseat and held all the kids at once and said, ‘If we’re going to die, we’re going to die together’,” said Good Samaritan Meave Ryan.
On Thursday, the 10-year-old went to play as his family tried to keep his mind off the utter horror of Tuesday night.
Little LaShaun wonders why he survived, and what could have been, reports CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
“He’s doing very good, but he’s mentioned it…he will never forget the incident, what happened,” LaShanda’s grandmother, Pearl Posey, said. “He wishes that he could have told his brothers how to swim.”
Newburgh police said Armstrong was distraught over rumors her boyfriend had been cheating on her. Thursday morning, her sister said she had been acting strange and paranoid over the past few weeks.
“She was talking to me about how she felt someone was watching her, she felt like there was pages of her diary missing the lights in her house were flickering on and off,” sister Darice Armstrong said.
Wednesday night, family and friends lit candles and laid stuffed animals at the scene. Armstrong’s mother broke down.
“Question is we’ll never know or understand why, but all I’m just saying is just pray with us while we go through this difficult time,” Datrice said.
Family members were not only trying to cope with the tragedy, they were also in the midst of planning four funerals. They asked that any donations be made to First Baptist Church in Spring Valley.