Lashanda Armstrong, Mom Who Drove Minivan With Kids Into Hudson River, Laid To Rest

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The mother who drove her minivan with three children into the frigid Hudson River last week was laid to rest today.

A white casket containing the body Lashanda Armstrong arrived Thursday morning at the First Baptist Church where her funeral was held, along with three balloons — one for each of the children who died in her minivan when she drove it into the frigid Hudson River on April 12.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi: The Children Will Be Laid To Rest Next Week

“A Lot of singing, a lot of crying, a lot of sadness,” Bed-Stuy resident Brenda McWirten told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez. “I wish the children could have been in there with her.”

familys minivan river deaths sff3 Lashanda Armstrong, Mom Who Drove Minivan With Kids Into Hudson River, Laid To Rest

A casket containing the body of LaShanda Armstrong is carried from the church during her funeral in Spring Valley, N.Y., Thursday, April 21, 2011. (credit: Seth Wenig/AP)

Landen Pierre, 5, 2-year-old Lance Pierre and 11-month-old Laianna Pierre all drowned in the van. Laianna would’ve turned 1 Wednesday.

“We all know that life is full of questions,” the Rev. Naomi Latour told mourners inside a packed First Baptist Church in Spring Valley. “LaShanda loved God, and God loved LaShanda, and nobody can stop that.”

Family and friends gathered with mixed emotions.

“She felt like it was a cruel world. That’s what she felt like, like why leave them behind,” family friend Katrina Whatley said. “But we know that that wasn’t a good thing to do.”

“I just wish she had considered, had taken another option but who am I to say. You never know the reason,” family friend Doris Davis said.

1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports: Friends Think The Mother And Her Children Should Be Buried Together

La’Shaun Armstrong, 10, managed to wriggle through an open window and swim to shore. The shivering, soaked child was recovered by passerby Maeve Ryan, who brought him to a nearby firehouse.

By the time the firefighters got to the river, it was too late.

Ryan, who was among the mourners Thursday, said she has nightmares and feels “regretful” that she could not rescue the rest of the family. She said she wants to tell La’Shaun, “I will always be here for you, and I apologize for not doing more than I could.”

Ryan said Armstrong’s aunt, Angela Gilliam, had called to thank her, and she told Gilliam, “Don’t thank me, I was in the right place at the right time.”

LaShaun was carefully guarded at the service by family members, traveling to the church in a police-guarded caravan of limousines.

“That’s a lot on a little child, but he was strong. He was very strong throughout the entire service,” family friend Beverly Cox said.

Friends say Armstrong was distraught that day. Police said that prior to killing herself and her children she was involved in a domestic incident with her boyfriend Jean Pierre minutes earlier. Pierre is the father of the three slain children.

“I have been inaccurately portrayed as being directly responsible for the tragedy,” Pierre said in a statement Wednesday. “If I could, I would have changed some things in my past.”

Pierre refused to have the children buried with the woman who killed them. It was a decision that Armstrong’s family said only prolongs their grief.

“I’m disappointed because no matter what, these are her children,” cousin Channise White said. “The funeral plan was for her to be laid at rest with them, so nobody should have changed them.”

“I feel that’s wrong,” Ryan said. “They’re three little angels and the mother is with them at the moment.”

“Those are her kids, they came from within her. Those are hers, they should be with her,” family friend Michael Lake said.

Pierre did not attend the funeral.

What do you think of the decision not to bury the children with her? Good call or bad call? Sound off in our comments section.

  • sharon campbell

    That girl is too weak in mind body and soul.Women should love themselves first no matter the situation.Men are cheaters and she knew.She is so young and had all those don’t hold men anymore.She should be focus on her self and kids and leave this man alone.Sorry she didn’t talk to a friend or family before she drove away and made that cruel decision.I love myself and my life..and nomatter how things can be rough..things can be great later.Girls get a education and a job and stop waiting on a man love or attention to feel happy.Love yourself ….


    This woman’s problem did not start when she killed herself and her children. This was many years in the making. Look at her age and the age of her eldest child. Imagine a young mind and body having to deal with a child at her age. Many factors culminated to this day. Hopefully the son will go on to be an emotionally and mentally healthy person. The trajectory of our lives speaks volume.

  • T. Angel

    It’s so sad when we say things in a mean way. God heard your choice of words…the devil heard it too and believe me when I tell will regret the choice of words you used on this post. You are no different than the mother that committed this act. You spew such distaste of words and don’t know you are setting yourself up for a fall. We all have to meet our Creator and account for the wrongs done by words and or action. Before your life ends…it will because we are all promised death. You will regret leaving such harsh words on this post. No amount of MONEY is more important than a human’s life. No matter how the child(ren) were born they are precious and deserve a chance to live.

  • Jeffrey

    …how much could we have saved if your mamas customer had a baggie along with his $5?

  • Yarieliz Reyes

    funny but not nice :,(

  • HooDatIS?


  • delle111

    I definitely believe she should have made a more sound decision but as a Counselor she wasn’t of sound mind..Any1 that would harm themselves or their children couldn’t be. I think when we understand or try to understand that our views about this Mom would be different. Look at it like this if you already felt that you didn’t have any help with your children and you were in it alone, you definitely would believe that no one would help your children in your death. I honestly believe that she thought she was doing the right thing in a sick way but she was sick. Depression is just as important of a illness as Cancer, If not treated and addressed it could kill you. I honestly don’t believe that she killed her self or her babies to get back at Mr. Pierre, if anything she felt I’m going to take care of my kids life and in death. I believe in the Grace of God and He doesn’t work in coincidence this young man wasn’t saved on mistake the LOrd has a big plan for his life. It bothers me that everybody is already counting him out. If it was over for him that cold Thursday evening would have been it like it was for his mother and siblings. See from what the young man said she repented so she is already forgiven I pray that you do the same because to say you are not going to pray for her is God-like. I honestly don’t believe that she killed her self because of a man I think she was Depressed and overwhelmed and her wit-end could have been anything what happened early that day was probably just the straw that broke the camels back. Now I definitely believe that more than media take on the situation you Lashuan will look back at the horrible the way in which his family handled this situation since that’s all that mattered. No matter what happened prior to Mr. Pierre and Ms. Armstrong these families should have joined forces for the sake of the survivor. After all that has happened these families are still missing the point. There is no one way that they should still be fighting or holding grudges. These services should have been combined with the help of both families to show this man united if anything will keep him for moving pass this healthy is that..Then one have to wonder why Lashanda didn’t reach out they can’t even agree on a proper burial. I’m not trying to judge the family I’m just saying come together to save Lashuan, come together to save another depressed woman’s life or innocent child’s life!! God rest their Souls!! I will continue to lift them up in prayer both families because they are going to need it..

  • Mike

    As much of a POS as the father probably is, this woman killed her children. End of story. Murder. If She isn’t strong enough to get past whatever put her in that frame of mind, do herself, but leave the children be. She should go to hell for what she did. It was no mistake, she knew what she was doing.

    • AToast ToWealth

      That’s not right Mike. i don’t agree. You don’t know what conversation she had with the Lord after calling her father on the phone at the hudson and saying she was in the midst of doing something wrong. god heard her call out and we can judge now. God is taking care of it and I truly believe he heard her.




    Judging and finger-pointing is outrageous at this point. So many family and friends watched the mother’s life fall into a downward spiral but stood silently on the sidelines until after the murder/suicide. Children must always be our priority, not the parent’s relationship, love and sex life. The oldest son survived and needs everyone to help him make sense of the rest of his life. To the family: stay out of the media and handle your business. At this point it should be a private family matter, not a public spectacle. God bless the 3 little angels we lost. May their souls rest in eternal peace. To LaShaun: you are a gift from God, may He walk with you always..

    • Vanessa Truell



    First I would like to say that I feel terrible for what happened to those children.
    But I’m tired of men being blamed for every evil, stupid thing a woman does. This was a selfish act done to get back at Mr. Pierre. She was not looking for a way out. She was looking for revenge. Instead of driving to a friend or relative’s house, she decided to drive into the river with THEIR children. After it was too late, she said “This was a bad idea” I read in one article. I don’t know if that is true but if it she did say that, there is proof positive that escape was not on her mind. I am all too familiar with women who don’t care about the welfare of the children when it comes to revenge though, few have taken it this far.

    • AToast ToWealth

      I’m sorry but you are wrong. It is very clear that you could care less about this woman or possibly any other with the response you just made. She was clearly abused and terrified of this man. She took out a restraining order out on him for leaving his youngest at home alone while the child made its way out of the apartment and in the 19 degree weather. I think that was stupid of him. Plus he had his girlfriend pick up the child from the police station posing as the child’s mother. They were both arrested. I think that’s stupid on HIS part!! He also owed child support of over $11,000 and on the day of the tragedy, he violating tried to confront her by yelling and banging on her door about the restraining order that was just issued over HIS stupid thing. So sir, it is clear that HE definitely frightened her and though no one agrees she should have drove to the Hudson that day, in her mind she saw no other way out. She needed help that she didn’t know how to get. We are all human and we never know what we may do in life. This is why we need to love one another and try and encourage people all we can. We don’t know all she endured with this man. So we should pray and not go on own on experiences. Here’s the details on their tumultuous relationship:

  • Melinda

    First of all harry was a good father everything on the news is nonsense Some ppl made a cirus out this situation to get there 5 mins of fame How dare.Shanda was like a sister to me and I loved her with all my heart but what she did WAS WRONG and I will neva forgive her for that. But its not about me its about 3 kids that woke up every morning full of life and always had smile on there faces. This is devastating enough for pierre to bury his 3 kids I am praying for our family and armstrong family cause only god can judge



      My prayers go out to everyone that was affected by the sudden death of the lil one’s. Even though Pierre and Shanda where going through some difficult time in my heart she did wrong, she made the choice to give up on life but to take the children with her was wrong. It really upsets me that she was so selfish! I pray that Pierre will get through this, I know with the help of FAMILY n’ Friends he will, but please remind Pierre there is still one child left and he should step in and be there for La’Shaun because he too lost all that he had and I’m positive Pierre was once a father to him. God Bless you all



  • Mike

    “He that is without sin, Let him cast the first stone.” This is the time to talk about healing, not blaming anyone for this tragedy. The deed is already done and nothing can change it. Let this be a teachable moment and let us all learn something from it. As we point one finger at another person, all of the other fingers are ponting at ourselves. Let us learn to Love one another and forgive one another as Jesus did.


    When I first heard of this tragedy I asked myself what kind of mother could do this to her children! But sadly enough, there are many women out there that have these feelings of giving up often! Being a single parent, enduring all the responsibilities and all of the rest of life’s curve balls! But when she decided to bring these 4 beautiful innocent children into the world she should have been willing to never give up for their sake! No matter what she was going thru with the man her children had no direct fault in that! It was all her choice! If he was cheating it was her choice to stay the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd times! Parents’ personal issues amongst each other should be just that! When she decided to bring these children into the world it was solely her responsibility to keep them from harm and instead she fell weak to her own emotional windfall and took the opportunity of life and growth from those 3 beautiful children! And the worst part is that the surviving son she damaged the most! He will have to live with that pain and hurt knowing that his mother was a quitter!!!! I don’t agree with the family putting blame on the boyfriend because it is evident she knew his ways and she was sick in the mind and soul with her own personal grief from her own decisions in life! She was not thinking of her children or herself as a mother whom loved her children all she was thinking about was what she had allowed to be done by him and that she would make him pay! Unfortunately, her children paid the real price!!!!!! At this point it doesn’t matter what our personal opinions are about where the children are buried because they will be reborn but she will perish for the unforgettable sin of SUICIDE! As for those people saying that she saw this as her only way out I 100% disagree that her kids had to pay the price for her way out! She owed them a life with or without when she decided to have them!



  • L. Woods

    The sadness I feel toward this whole, senseless tragedy when it became known continues unabated. I am particularly incensed that the ‘father’ of these deceased children wants to “be -a-man” and make the decision to have the children buried separately from the mother. There’s enough blame to go around. But who, I ask, will it[blame] bring back to life? People, we all need to pray because the pressures that are about to occur in this country will be like nothing any of us has ever seen! For those who believe, HAPPY EASTER!

    • dee

      There is so much more to being a father than donating sperm and I agree he is the last person to be involved in this decision. This has affected me a lot for personal reasons. I pray that their soul rest in peace and for the family including the “father”.

  • dee

    This is so emotional and so sad. Why do we always want to judge someone else when we are not perfect ourselves. We have no idea how unhappy this woman was or what has been going on in her life that she would make a life changing decision like this. It is so terrible when we judge others because someone else is always judging us. The children’s father should not be making decisions about the funeral because he did not care when they were alive so how is it he cares so much now. He is also judging their mother and he is so much at fault. They should be buried with their mother. Her eldest son is alive for a reason and he will need all the support he can get. He does not need to read or hear all the negative comments that are being said about his mother. He is feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness and guilt. Let’s think about him for a bit and stop bashing his mother. This entire situation is so so sad.

  • LENT

    Sad, Sad and Sad. May all of them be resting in peace. This poor woman realized she made a terrible mistake, but it was too late to take it back. I really feel for her and her children. Alot of you people writing these comments act like you have a right to say mean and hateful things about someone you didn’t even know. Shame on all of you. This is the holiest week of the year when Jesus died for you. Stop judging and let GOD be the judge.

    • dee

      I so agree with you. May they rest in peace.

      • Sonia

        This is a sad day when a mother put her need before her children. The no good abusive father is running around, the poor babies pay the price. She should not be bury with the children. You should not kill, Gods’ law.

  • tonyr

    sorry, what she did was just plain wrong. She had plenty of options, but playing God with her childrenwas NOT one of them. wrong is wrong

    • Vic

      You know, Tony. I agree with you to a point. I’m not about spouting quotes from the bible, but I can understand how the father feels no matter what kind of P.O.S. he may have been towards Lashanda. The woman killed herself and worst yet, 3 of her 4 children. Suicide if a sin. Killing your children Iis an even worse one. There were other ways out, sorry folks she could have dropped them off at a friend, relative, anyplace but under water. Question of burying her with her children is yes and no. Regardless, if this father is truly mourning the deaths of his children and wishes he could change his past well then TREAT YOUR WOMAN RIGHT NEXT TIME AROUND IF YOU’RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO BECOME A FATHER AGAIN THANKS TO THE MOTHER OF YOUR NEXT BORN!!!!!!

  • danny

    I have had too many things happen to me in life to believe in god. Regardless, this woman was apparently sick in the head. Many people close to her now say they saw the changes in her behavior. They saw the mental deterioration take place. But being uneducated, like most people, they just took it as being moody. So much hate here for this woman. Not from me. No respect either. I just hope whatever afterlife brings, she is at peace as is her children. Don’t even bother to respond to me. Won’t read it. Won’t be back here.

  • Lee

    Everyone in that family is to blame. The mother for killing her children, and the father for not being aware that she was mentally unstable. It is fortunate that La’Shaun survived. Now he has to spend his life knowing what his mother did, killing his brothers and sister, and tring to kill him.

    Where these babies are buried shouldn’t be the topic. The topic should be, people, neighbors, friends, family need to pay more attention to one another, then maybe, just mabye these senseless deaths can be avoided in the future.

  • Bell Toller

    they sholdnt even allow a funeral for this monster

    • Joe

      …your head still ringing?

  • Taxman

    IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY FOLKS! WHOEVER BURIES THOSE KIDS GETS THAT HUGE TAX CLAIM.So the father is trying to get the upper hand on the mother’s estate.

  • Bernadette

    this is a case of something gone heinously WRONG.SHE DID NOT DO THE RIGHT THING, SHE IS DEAD AND SO ARE HER CHILDREN.What I cannot understand is what was she thinking, playing God; and taking those innocent lives.She could have gone off alone and play God with her own life, and left the Children ALIVE.
    Let us all pray for the surviving boy as well as the rest of their family.May they be comforted knowing that our thoughts & Prayers are with them in this difficult time.

  • mac


    • yeah mon

      Mac the Lady is at PEACE with herself. There is NOTHING , we could do for her.

  • yeah mon

    She saw away out.. and she took it. She may have been RAPE ,by the first kid’s father. And now the she is burden down with another three kids from a Psycho Father…..Folks this young lady saw away out and see took it .It was very unselfish of her not to leave her kids with that horrible man and in this horrible world we all live in.SHE IS AT PEACE,AND SHE HAS BEEN FORGIVEN

  • mac

    I agree with Edward…and know relationship is bad enuff to kill yourself and your children…there is always divorce…

  • Pia Fan Keyport NJ

    Strange. A “FATHER” as he calls himself? A womanizer, low life, sperm doner. This is what Pierre is to me. He should be ashamed of himself. IF he was a decent Father, his children wouldn’t be in heaven right now. HE should have paid more attention to his girlfriend or whatever she was to him, proabably nothing, instead of chasing woman around. Isn’t it the “FATHER” who had the children and the one child got out of the house one night and was picked up off the street? Wasn’t it the FATHER’S girlfriend who tried to claim the child at the police station, probably so the biological mother didn’t find out about the incident. He, Pierre should be ashamed of himself. Who is he to judge her, got knows what mental state she was in. I’m not condoning her killig her children, but god knows what this woman was going thru and sounds like she gave up. She was working, going to school, trying to raise four children while this BUM was out running around. SHAME ON HIM. And now he is going to be the ‘SAVOIR” and take care of the children and take them away from their mother? Give me a break. The bum should be locked up, charged with neglect. IF HE WAS THEIR THAT NIGHT WITH THE MOTHER AND CHILDREN, THEY WOULD STILL BE HERE. SO TAKE THAT TO THE BANK.

    • Terri Brown

      to Pia Fan

      Yay to you for sticking up for her. Noone knows what she was thinking or going through. God bless her and her kids….

    • jtorres

      I have no love for the father but she had several choices. LEAVING HIM would be at the top of the list. If was a useless boyfriend and father what did she have to lose? She had a family that she could have turned to for help. There are also all sorts of organizations providing services, even if it’s counseling. Men cheat on their wives and girlfriends evry day and very few women kill themselves over it. No man is worth that. Nobody I’ve ever heard of has killed their children. Maybe, like Medea, she did it to punish the father, but there was more going on here. I’m sure in her mind, it made perfect sense. But we know suicide is never the answer and it is the coward’s way out

      • Micha


        You make it seem like this woman had no options. She could have left Pierre.. as a matter of fact, she killed herself and her babies because HE was breaking up with HER. Yes, he was the one who was watching the baby when he got outside and was found by police, but SHE took him back after that. 99.9% of women out there would have left him after that. This woman is the epitomy of young women today. No backbone, no self identity, relying on a man who doesn’t want you to be happy. My sympathies are with Lance, Landon, Laianna and La’Shaun…

      • Brigitte

        Suicideis never the answer but, i know GOD has forgiven her.But, i do agree the children should not be buried with her. She does not deserve them in human eyes.
        Her plight is in GODS hands . The children, too but they deserve something speacial. I am sure they went thro alot of truma in thier lives. The only thing good about this whole mess is they can finally have peace.
        She should have tried to find another way out.

  • Edward

    Vanessa—There is no wooden beam here stuck in anyone’s eye here. It is plain to see and gives authority to judge in Gods name and word. What this woman did was hardly a speck of sawdust. Reality is, things can be judged as long as it is not done in hypocrisy. The net cast down being pulled up through the water is the life we have. Once you reach the surface–life is over for the fish. All that should have been made right needed to be done on the way up to the surface. There is a wage for sin; this is a fact. Just because she said she was sorry before she killed herself and kids does not make her sin forgiven. Bible passage: God hates a presumptuous sinner. To me this was pre mediated murder and disregard for the gilt of life around you. I am glad you are not anyone’s judge either –especially in a court of law.

    • Vanessa Truell

      Edward-One of the joys of open communication…we can agree to disagree having siad that…,its been interesting hearin your thoughts, and by all means, have a blessed day

    • fifi

      there is no such thing as GOD!

      • Terri Brown


      • FABULOUS

        You have a good point. Anyone and anything can be viewed as a god, so let us be specific. His name is Jehovah.

  • Edward

    And I am not judging–God’s word is judging. Stop with the false teaching of God and tell the truth about what Christ says. And stop repeating my name like it will emphasize your point more. Again, God’s word will judge the murderer and child killer. Always some pseudo-Christian trying to spin Gods Word into something else. Vanessa get over your false doctrine; Pretty safe bet that the woman is in hell as we speak. You are right; Jesus is the just judge and His word judges a selfish motivated murderer.

  • Darlene

    It is best left to the surviving parent to make that choice, as she gave up that right. What needs to be considered however is not how WE feel, not how the mother or father would feel, but how the remaining child would feel. According to HIS statements, I do believe the woman would have undone what she did if should could. This is what he knows in his heart. I think that young boy is the real one that should be voicing his preferences and if he can’t make a decision, then a decision should based on what his best interests might be. Only the family knows that right now. God will take care of them all.

  • Vanessa Truell

    Manny, thats a mouthful right there!!…Because we know you have NEVER sinned.. and if you have, lol, lol, somebody is sayin the same damn thing about you…maybe you didn’t do what she did, but Sin is Sin….the bible says…he who is without sin,…without sin Manny….(I don’t think the Lord was talkin about you dear heart) let him cast the first stone

  • Vanessa Truell

    No David, she is far from a candidate, and in your mean spirited statement ….you know that…Let’s just pray for people who make decisions that affect other people, in whatever capacity.

  • Edward

    This has to be the most selfish person I;ve ever heard about. You kill your kids along with yourself over love gone wrong? Please, this woman doesn’t deserve to be buried in the earth. Burn her and send the ashes down the nearest sewer.

    • Vanessa Truell

      Its good to know, when our end comes that Edward is not in charge of juding the living and the dead, thats the job of the Lord Jesus Christ Edward.

  • Vanessa Truell


    • Edward

      Sorry Vanessa–I will pray for the son who escaped because his life is ruined–thanks to that ultra-selfish woman. I will not pray for her; there is no use. Do you think reading about this will scar him? Just listen to yourself. The little boy is scarred for the rest of his life without reading in the future– and he will never forget that his mother tried to hold in the car by his ankle. I can pretty much say that Jesus won;t have any mercy on her soul–count on it. As Jesus said for those who would harm my little ones, it would be better off that you tie a millstone around your neck and drown yourself. Too bad she didn’t leave her little children out of it. Have mercy the woman is dead? She did not die –she killed herself –and took the innocent along with her. Who besides the boy are we praying for?

      • Vanessa Truell

        The family Edward, I feel you and you are sooo right, she was ultra selfish, but she’s gone now, and this little young man is going to have a very hard road ahead of him, he is now at the age where things matter, wow, i am almost speechless here Ed, this is soop sad. And i believe years from now, after this is over, and people have long forgot, he never will, and his mind will probably research articles on this tragedy and read some really nasty things about a woman he ONCE loved…yeah its sad, too sad, but lets just pray for him and the family that remains…I couldnot imagine being the miother of this young lady, boy oh boy what she must be feeling…just my thoughts Edward thats all, enjoy your day, and walk with love in your heart…no matter how hard it can be sometimes.

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