Family Planning Funeral For LaShanda Armstrong, Children Drowned In Minivan

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)— Flowers, balloons and stuffed animals marked a spot by the Hudson River where 25-year-old LaShanda Armstrong drove a minivan with her four children into the water.

Relatives were planning funerals for Armstrong and her children: 11-month-old daughter Laianna, 5-year-old son Lance, and 2-year-old son Landon.

The sole survivor of the tragedy is undergoing counseling and won’t be back in school anytime soon.

LeShaun Armstrong’s family told CBS 2 that he’s not talking much about the night his mother and siblings died, but that the community is working hard to help him heal, reports CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

Ten-year-old LeShaun found refuge in the home of his great aunt, Angela Gilliam. She said she knows what he needs.

“Love…a lot of it,” she said. “He went through a tragedy.”

LaShaun managed to escape the sinking van through a window. His family was trying to keep his mind off the horror of Tuesday night.

“Shaun is great, he’s coming along,” said Angela Gilliam, LaShanda’s aunt.

He told family members that his mother told the children they were going to die. He said she then changed her mind at the last moment, but it was too late.

“He’s not opening up right now, and I’m not forcing him to say anything right now,” Gilliam said. “Let him be a little boy, let him come out here and play, try to get his mind off what happened.”

“He’s doing very good but he’s mentioned it, about he will never forget the incident, what happened. And he wishes that he could have told his brothers how to swim,” the boy’s great grandmother, Pearl Posey, said.

LaShanda’s mother, Datrice, was numb with grief as she spoke about the last conversation with her daughter, moments before she drove the minivan into the river.

“I’m still hurting. I will be forever hurting for the rest of my life,” she said. “She said she was sorry.”

“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,” she said.

LaShanda posted on her Facebook page a half hour before the murder-suicide: “I’m so sorry everyone forgive me please for what I’m gonna do… This is it!”

After escaping the vehicle, LaShaun 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.

A district attorney says there will likely be no charges filed in the case.

Orange County District Attorney Frank Phillips said Friday that no one but Lashanda Armstrong is responsible for the deaths.

Friends of Armstrong said she was distraught over a history of infidelities by the father of her three youngest children, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports.

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.

“I’ve known her to make mistakes but not like that, not take her kids out. She loved her kids,” said Angela Gilliam, LaShanda’s aunt.

“I thank God for the time I had with her and those kids,” Posey said.

“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 asked that any donations be made to First Baptist Church in Spring Valley.

More from Dave Carlin
Comments

One Comment

  1. Kalisha Nathaya Jones says:

    This is a real tragedy, the people who are suffering the most are the family with no answers why. The world needs to take focus on these situations and hear these unheard cries, this can be prevented if we implement the phrase ” It takes a village to raise a child”. We need to stop turning our backs on single mothers and offer them a break to gather their thoughts and breathe the fresh air, where is the family when signs of distress are being shown and pressures begin building? It is very hard to raise children and when you are already fragile the situation becomes more intense, we have to take serious what depression, stress, pressure and constant need does to a person and their children.

  2. pookerhanna says:

    leave the judgement for God. this family is in mourning. why keep on with the bad talk? none of you are God. he does the judgement. u all does the put down. yes it was a sad thing she did but think of the family right now and what that kid got to deal with for the rest of his life. please show some kind of respect for the family.

  3. delle111 says:

    First of all, may God have mercy on their souls and keep this family covered in the love and blood of Jesus..People are so quick to judge but on the other hand say how religious they are..Its unbelievable what happened preceding to and during this tragic event however who are we to judge her situation @ AB you pat yourself on the back for raising your daughter alone after being a single Mom that’s “Great” but I’m pretty sure you have also made mistakes (Like not using spell check). Yes, we all could have made better choices and decisions in our lives but that doesn’t always happen. @ Tara I totally agree, what are all you negative people doing to take the easy off of these mothers WWJD before something like this happens. Remember guys the same God that you serve this mother also served, If she repented which it sounds like she did from the accounts reported by her son she was already FORGIVEN. As American we run to other Countries to assist with their disparity but we overlook societal issues in our own Country. @ Annette give a Sex Ed class at a funeral For Real how freaking insensitive to the child left and the family of the victims. Their deaths definitely should not be in vain there should be a follow up to this tragedy at a later time but its a time and place for everything and its not NOW!!

  4. Mary Robinson says:

    you call a good mom good mom dont kill their kids they didnt ask to be born and they shouldnt have died with her is life was that bad just take her own life she will rott in hell for that those was god babies he will shield them and take them in his bossam to heaven not her

  5. singlemomof4 says:

    I feel she did love her kids despite what she did. Its too late now but..having so many kids?? Birth control is available. I say for myself too I am suffering now because I had 4 kids I’m alone..I didn’t have anyone to tell me how hard it is. The poor Mom made a mistake and realized it too late..its so sad..but I understand her and don’t think she’s a monster.

  6. beth white says:

    some times when children are involved in inter cultural relationships they don’t
    understand the men have been raised with different values. isn’t his family
    of caribbean ancestory, the name sounds haitian

  7. beth white says:

    be nice, it doesn’t take much to be nice. it hurts soo much. she just wanted to be loved. the sex was as close to it that she settled for. she was a good person, what
    a difference if her guy could have showed her a little respect. such a difference, five
    dollars flowers or a pretty dress. my sweet sister in spirit if she could have held on
    for five more year or so, not just empty sex, but the real thing, be a beautiful bride
    have your degree and experience making love on a physical, emotional and spiritual
    level. i lived her life but my husband saved me. if you came up fatherless, giving your family fells worth the sacrafice

  8. barbara howard says:

    This was one of the worst, that I can ever remember. We will never know what was going through her mind at the time and why this happen? I can say this much, God left her oldest son here for a reason. I have been crying everytime I see the News and we all go through rough times in our lives, but some people do not know how to deal with it. It’s just sad that a family had to die like that.

    1. Rodin says:

      I love the sappy religious types who need a “reason” for every nastiness and cop out with the “God works in mysterious ways” bull to justify every atrocity.

      The kid was old enough and smart enough to know what to do to escape. And he could swim. The others were too young. In “familicides”, the perpetrator is almost always convinced that the victims would be in grave danger and defenseless if left to live without them.

      Plain and simple. Any attempt to explain these tragic events otherwise is nonsense.

      KEEP YOUR FAITHS OUT OF MY FACE!

  9. Rodin says:

    I hope they don’t burry the kids with her.

  10. lyndia says:

    How stupid.

  11. Kevin says:

    this is one of the saddest things i have ever read or heard in my 57 years on this earth

  12. New Life says:

    They should not waste any money on the mother’s funeral. Keep that money for the 10 yr old who had to witness her luck of judgement.

    1. New Life says:

      Sorry I meant lack of judgement….

  13. chanda says:

    VERY sad. poor Lashaun will have to remember that night for the rest of his life, remember the words that his mother last spoke. It’s hard enough to have an adult live with that, let alone a little boy. I cried when I heard the story and it makes me sick to my stomach. as everyone else asks the same question…….why???????? we will never truly know.

  14. John f says:

    This woman is so elfish for what she did. She will certainly be judged very unfavorably by God for killing 3 innocent children. While she might have had it rough in life we are all responsible for our own actions. I do not know how you can call someone who killed 3 innocent children a great mother and great person. I think her actions speak for themselves.

  15. laney says:

    I am a friend of shanda and she was a great mom yes she had a lot of stress in her life but she always pulled through. Her kids were her life ,yeah she may have had a kid at a young age but she gre up fast and put her kid first. To say she not educated who are you?! I do belive if she had more support from her spouse this would have been prevented. But a lesson learn if you in any type of distress or know someone who is talk to them or give them a hug. -I know in my heart that’s what she needed. I can go on and on about shanda but know her family is hurting and her friends are hurting. I still tear up but we all need strength to get through this . I love you shanda

    1. AB says:

      If she was such a great mom and put her kids first she would still be alive. When you can’t do it for yourself than you do it for your kids. What she did was for herself. So i agree that she wasn’t a great mom or unselfish after all.

      Just my opion….

  16. Vil says:

    Annette, she was doing good for herself. Her kids were fed, dressed and just good kids. it was the low-life man, who abandoned her and her kids that did this to her. So while you’re in bed with your honey bunny, babycakes, and wake up to Hubby’s Benz in the driveway that will take you to your mani/pedi and then clog up the streets of the school that you bratty kids to go, think about what this woman went through. May god have mercy on her soul and on the likes of people like you. You Moron!

    1. Annette says:

      Vil…I send you the same response I posted to another reader because you missed my point..I was actually making the point that she did have it hard. Here is that response……..
      I suppose you think she had it easy then huh? Pregnant at 14, no education no father for the child.. then three more children by 24. She then goes back to school and has to get 4 children as well as herself up, dressed ,fed as well as getting herself together get them to school and daycare then go to school herself, after that she has to pick up the kids, maybe grocery shop, or do laundry,cook dinner,help with homework and do her own all without any help from a father. No money, no education and a ton of responsibility. I’d say that is damned difficult and contributed to her mental breakdown. No young person should be in that position. We do have free birth control and if kids were educated about it they and their future offspring would all be better off. If her school and parents had educated her then she could have held off having a family until she was ready for them.

      1. AB says:

        We all make our bed. i was a young monther at 16 and now am very successful. Was it hard ? Yes. By myself? Yes, no father. Family support? What is that? I had the Lord and my survival skills. The L>ord taught me how to be a mother, a provider and so forth. Did I make the decision not to have any more children until I was able to provide for them on my own? Yes. All of this at 16. Pid my own bills, went to school at night to be available for my kid during the day. Worked two jobs. You decide to have children you sacrafice. You put them first and most definately before any man.

        So please, save the excuses. She did what she did and thats that, Its the hard truth but some mothers are just selfish. Believe me, my mother was. Like I said, the Lord taught me to be a true women and an awsome mother. Now thats a good mother, wouldn’t you agree? Daughter graduated from college with a Aviation degree and I paid for it in cash. Now I am 42 no debt, no babies and enjoying my life.

        Just my opin and true facts about a young mother with obstacles that did not kill her child.

      2. Tara says:

        Not always the case. My daughter was educated from the time she could come in the bathroom with me and ask questions. When they become teens, they will still do whatever it is they want to do. My daughter also had a child at 15. It’s a sad situation and we should all just pray, have some sympathy, compassion and be less judgmental. For those that are negative, what are you doing to reach out to help someone else, specifically teens? If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Think about someone other than yourself.

      3. Rodin says:

        @ Tara

        \”Nothing fails like prayer” – Annie Laurie Gaylor
        FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION

    2. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx says:

      The baby’s father experiment by the black race is not working don’t you see..

  17. Annette says:

    When I read the headline I had to do a double take. Her family should hold a ” Family planning” Funeral for her and hand out birth control info to the people attending because there is no question in my mind that having children from the age of 15 contributed to her emotional distress. 4 children by the time she was 24. All the young people at her funeral need to think about how difficult that is so that they do not put themselves in the same position.

    1. MJONES says:

      YOU’RE A COMPLETE A**H***!!!!!!! ANNETTE!

      1. Annette says:

        I suppose you think she had it easy then huh? Pregnant at 14, no education no father for the child.. then three more children by 24. She then goes back to school and has to get 4 children as well as herself up, dressed ,fed as well as getting herself together get them to school and daycare then go to school herself, after that she has to pick up the kids, maybe grocery shop, or do laundry,cook dinner,help with homework and do her own all without any help from a father. No money, no education and a ton of responsibility. I’d say that is damned difficult and contributed to her mental breakdown. No young person should be in that position. We do have free birth control and if kids were educated about it they and their future offspring would all be better off. If her school and parents had educated her then she could have held off having a family until she was ready for them.

      2. People these days! says:

        Annette, what does this have to do with mourning for this young ladies family and that lil boy that is suffering. It can happen to anyone and it can happen within your family as well and you will be questioning why this has taken place. Dont come on her being negative b/c no one needs that at this moment. Who died and made you GOD sweetie! NO ONE. Parents and schools can do all they can to educate a human being and we humans are gonna do what the hell we wanna do regardless of the situation.ex: you have ppl they are very wealthy/parents taught them well, but they want to do drugs and overdose on dumb sh** b/c they have it all and have nothing better to do. No one ask you to run down her history of parenting bc you wasnt sleeping with this young lady.you dont know her daily routine so stop the madness honey bc you are being very worthless! May god continue to bless your negative soul and i hope real life doesn’t bite you in the butt and this happens to you or one of your family members(if you have a supportive family) b/c it definitely doesnt sound like it.you obviously dont know the meaning families stick together through thick and thin thats why we all develop family to carry on and we can be there for each and every last one of them in difficult and happy times.GET A LIFE YOU EVIL B! Ppl know its all kind of help out there to prevent from giving birth but when things happen you take it for what it is and just be there as family and she did what she had to do……….

    2. Rod in says:

      This is why I don’t understand the Repugnicans. You would think they would support free abortions for these people. It will definitely cut down on taxes.

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