Cross River Investigator: Seeing Dead Children In Bed Almost ‘Surreal’

Lewisboro Police Chief: Last Homicide In Tony Enclave Was Back In 1977

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police are still piecing together the sequence of events that ended with a Westchester County family dead on Tuesday.

Police found attorney Sam Friedlander, 50, his wife Amy, 46, and their two children, 10-year-old Molly and 8-year-old Gregory, all dead inside their home on 2 Lambert Ridge Road.

Authorities said the husband and father of two, who was in the middle of divorce proceedings, killed his wife, his children and himself.  The couple was set to be in court Thursday due to their divorce petition.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams: Authorities Say The Wife Was Beaten To Death, The Children Shot

The family rabbi, Carla Freedman, said while Friedlander seemed stressed, no one thought he would kill his wife and children and then kill himself.

“We knew that they were experiencing financial difficulties, and we knew that they were going through a difficult divorce,” Freedman, of the Jewish Family Congregation, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“People who knew him have stated they had seen a change in his behavior, although they had no indication whatsoever that his behavior would have led to what has transpired here,” Major Michael Kopy, of the New York State Police, said.

Police believe Friedlander bludgeoned his wife to death with a leg of a piece of furniture. There were signs of a struggle in the master bedroom where Amy was killed. Friedlander also blasted his two children in the torso with a 12 gauge shotgun before killing himself, according to Kopy. The children were shot in bed and then placed under the covers, Kopy said.

The investigation remains open. Police know the who, what and where, but are searching for the why.

“Were hoping through all the countless interviews we’re doing, we’ll get answers, but the truth of the matter is those people who can answer the best are not here any more,” State Police investigator Joseph Becerra told CBS 2′ Lou Young.

Becerra was one of the first police officer to enter the home on Tuesday.  He said that “children basically looked like they were sleeping in their beds.”

“It’s almost surreal to see they were obviously deceased,” he said.

A neighbor of the Friedlanders, who asked CBS 2 not to show his face, worked with Sam, helping the attorney with video and audio clips for some of his legal cases.

“You would see Amy out in the driveway playing with the kids and the Fisher Price toys. Sam would be in the yard doing whatever he had to do and this is a shock — to bludgeon your wife and then turn a shotgun on your children makes no sense,” the neighbor told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

That neighbors’ wife is owner of a Mt. Kisco restaurant, where Sam was seen in a security video entering the business on Monday and briefly chatting with her.

sam friedlander surveillance video Cross River Investigator: Seeing Dead Children In Bed Almost Surreal

This surveillance video shows Sam Friedlander at a friend's restaurant on Monday. (credit: CBS 2)

“My wife tells me he was jovial, he was upbeat and there was no indication that she gave that would indicate anything was askew,” the neighbor said.

The murder-suicide of the successful family has left officials there somewhat stunned.

“To the best of my knowledge the last time we had a homicide we had a double homicide in the hamlet of Vista in March of 1977,” Lewisboro Police Chief Frank Secret said. “Prior to that, I’ve never heard of anything even in the history regarding something like this happening in our town.”

“It’s somewhat surreal when you see it happen in your own community. It almost looks like a movie set,” Lewisboro Supervisor Charles Duffy said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports from Hawthorne

Police said the home was so bloody, officers weren’t immediately certain how each victim died or even which of the adults carried out the killings.

“This is devastating. In our community like this, this is nothing something we’re used to at all,” said Secret.

“When it’s so close to home, it’s so scary. You know, what could have been so horrible to do this, especially to your own children,” Martha Melkonian said.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

Cops were called to the home by Amy Friedlander’s business partner who was worried about Amy.

“She was aware that Mr. and Mrs. Friedlander had been involved in divorce proceedings and that she had not heard from Mrs. Friedlander during the day,” said Kopy. “She felt that was unusual and she asked troopers to go out to the residence.”

The clue to a motive for the tragedy may be found in the so-called “difficult divorce” that was headed to court this week.  So far, nothing police have uncovered suggests anything that could have led to this level of violence.

Please leave a comment below…

  • dizzy5

    Westchester is Hell.

  • Stunned

    My niece was best friends with Amy, the mom, since Elementary School, and cherished this incredible woman, friend and devoted mother. As a grief counselor experienced with sudden deaths, I am acutely aware of the devastating, lasting effects of this horrific, senseless, family murder. I hope everyone who intimately knew Amy and the children will get grief counseling support to process what happened, and to begin to heal their broken hearts. There is far too much sadness in our lives.

  • SK

    He was a text book case of a controlling narcissist who commits a heinous act when everything doesn’t go his way. He complained and made himself out to be a victim – common for narcissists. Read other articles about men who kill their wives and chidlren and you will see the same pattern. You’ll also find that people who knew them say the killer was “quiet and polite with no indication of violent tendencies.” They don’t show much passion or anger to the outside world. But the pattern is as soon as the spouse is going to get free, the murderer is really unhappy in his marriage, and/or he feels that he failed in some big way, (loses money, etc. ) — he ruthlessly sets his plan in action. He doesn’t love and care for his family the way a normal person does – seeing them as their own people. He considers them only in relation to what they do for him – whether he is satisfied or not with them. He doesn’t have the same feelings the normal dad or husband would have. When you read about them – they are so self centered they feel no guilt they just do what they think best for themselves given the situation. He didn’t like the outcome of his marriage so everyone had to die now. He was similing and jovial right before because he had his plan. The weight had been lifted from his shoulders – he was going to control this situation and everyone was going to finally do exactly as he wanted. No one was getting away. A normal person really cannot understand this because he is not wired this way, no matter how difficult a divorce – most people would never resort to killing a spouse or child. By the way, people I know who looked at the facebook pages of his two “friends” who villified the murdered, beaten wife in the press found disturbing photos and comments that were misogynistic. There was also a photo of a baby ducktapped to a wall with the comment ” good use for ducktape.” Disgusting. The killer was clever in picking friends who would be sympathetic audience. His wife’s memory is dragged through the mud and she is accused in death by the two “friends” of “belittling him” and therefore being the cause of his murder spree. One of the friends mentioned that if the killer had just murdered his wife he would have “understood it and put a file in a cake for him to get him out of jail. ” but he didn’t like that he killed himslef and the kids too – that’s where Mr. Sympathetic drew the line. Hundreds of Amy’s friends, family, neighbors and students say she was a loving remarkable person and have posted rembrances of her. She tried to fight him, she tried to get away. She fought till the death to save herself and her children. God bless Amy, Molly and Gregory.

    • a grievous day

      Dear SK, you must also be a therapist. Your diagnosis of this demented, Narcissist seems spot on. I agree with everything you said. Thank you for your comments. the funeral is today, my niece is speaking about Amy and their beloved friendship..I can’t imagine anything sadder.

  • Jonquil

    I knew Sam as a child. My remarks are at:

  • Kc

    The only ones that will ever know what happened in that marriage and that night are no longer here. Cannot imagine what was going thru his mind. To take the kids is beyond reason!!! There were signs there are always signs we just do not see or know what to look for. May they all rest in peace!!!

  • KC

    The only ones that will ever know what happened in that marriage and that night are no longer here. Cannot imagine what was going thru his mind. To take the kids is beyond reason!!! There were signs they are always signs we just do not see or know what to look for. May they all rest in peace!!!

  • I occassionally knock doors in your neighborhood

    And people get offended at you when you knock their door offering hope, a better life or maybe just a new perspective on things. Yeah, I knock doors occasionally with a message of hope. Wonder how many people (knocked their door ((mainstream Christian faith and otherwise -they carry breifcases and bags)) and tried to share some good news with them. Sad, sad story.

  • lemonade

    Many people go through divorce – go through losing their homes and separating from the kids, most people DON’T GO SLAUGHTER THEIR SPOUSE AND CHILDREN! I’ve been divorced myself and lost my home. Yes, you are angry, but more than that hurt. You pray and you work out your feelings and you go on. This guy is a vindictive, heinous individual. How he could go into a store, smile and chat with the storeowner and then go slaughter his family is mind-boggling. Put the blame where it should be – AT THE INDIVIDUAL WHO COMMITTED THIS EVIL ACT. It isn’t the courts, it isn’t his parents, it isn’t his family – it’s whatever is inside him.

  • Love NYC

    I think we can be pretty sure that the homicide detectives familiar with crime scene analysis and forensics, know who committed this crime. Experts can pick up on the tiniest of clues, unknown to the untrained, that tell the whole story.

    Living under the same roof during this phase of a divorce is recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, the divorce laws for property settlement create desperation and resentment causing a seething anger. Bad combination. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Many abused men and women hide it from others, especially to protect their kids. Abuse is not only physical. Some of the most damaging abuse is verbal and financial. All about control.

  • concernedparent

    This story is so sad but after reading an article in the Lewisboro Ledger, I am enraged! This poor little boy’s baseball coach, Frank DeGrasse, was convicted of felony charges in 2006 and was indicted again this past April for identity theft amongst many other crimes. How can a town hire someone with a criminal record to coach our kids? I hope these boys don’t go to him for advice if they are experiencing problems at home. If it takes a village to raise our children, the town of Lewisboro is in big big trouble!

  • lieutenantdan

    Supreme court and family courts could be viewed as bias against fathers.
    The fathers almost always lose. The fathers lose custody to mothers whom many mothers suffer from disorders and addictions such as alcohol and drugs. The system is set up to work against fathers and in many a case free corporate law firms with unlimited resources work pro-bono only for the women and never for the men. This is why most cases are said to be settled before the cases can go to trial.
    Fathers are discouraged to fight by the legal system due to what could be considered unfair legal practices and tactics set up by the system and for the system. How could anyone, man or woman continue to sustain spending $300 to $400 dollars and hour for an attorney? They cannot so they settle.
    This is why the Violence Against Women Act is in place, to make money for a system and not really for the best interest of the children.
    The system instead of helping escalates an already difficult situation, divorce.
    There is no accountability. It can be said that the system could share blame for such a tragedy and if the system was stacked against women I would bet my bottom dollar that you would begin to see women committing such terrible crimes. In fact one example is the woman who drove her car into the Hudson last year killing herself and her children with the exceptions of the one boy who escaped drowning which is a violent crime in itself.
    The system is a failure and drains children of their future money that could be put toward education. To bad the protesters are not protesting this system as well and calling attention to it.
    It is a shame.
    Also, I hear that the masacre of the animals in Ohio was due to a divorce and an order by a judge to find homes for the animals.
    This system needs to be questioned.
    Feel bad about all of this.

    • katy heys

      Evidently, lieutenant Dan, inasmuch as the father in this case murdered his entire family and then cowardly took his own life, the courts were correct. I don’t think Amy killed the kids and the husband and beat herself to death. You comment calls you out as a chauvinist.

  • Kelly Starters

    If he was a long time on Ambien type of sleeping pill
    one can although it’s rare become psychotic with anger.
    Some anti-depressant’s can do this too, the story ain’t over yet.

  • GINA



    God our creator will judge such an act.


    It is a wicked act against two poor innocent and helpless kids. It creator is going to judge such an act. Rest in Perfect Peace mommy and kids!

  • Shenanigans

    Maybe the woman’s business partner did it! Why would you call State Police just because you did not hear from a friend or co-worker for one day?

  • Guy who once saw Lyle A l z a d o at Newark Airport

    When is this rain and wind going to let up? I don’t mind one or the other, but both combined do a job on my umbrellas. Just broke another one today. Damn.

  • Ed

    I don’t care how much pain is in your life, there is nothing and I mean NOTHING that should make a normal person feel like this was the answer to the problem. It has to take a major brain malfunction to think this somehow is the answer not only for you, but for your family too. Evil thoughts and deeds as this make me physically sick to think people can sink to such a place.

  • Help is out there!!!

    Can you imagine what kind of pain and how desparate he became to do what he did. We know he couldn’t have been in his right mind to do what he did. Last year he made an igloo for the kids when it was probably as cold as cold can be. He was always playing with his children in the yard or his wife was. Why couldn’t they have all played together? You wonder why they did not go to counseling if there were gigantic problems with the family. For anyone contemplating anything in this respect—Please call a help line, go to a hospital and get the help you need—-there is help out there—keep looking????

  • Soap

    Terrible thing, but I do agree that the family system can lead to crazy things. Seems like only the men loose in a divorce.

  • Mr. Staten Island

    I see he had an NRA-approved shotgun, but can you use food stamps to buy bullets?

  • SoSad

    Very sad…. she should have moved out. I bet she was too concerned with abondoning the house and losing it…. well they lost much more than that in the end. During a bitter divorce living together isnt helping the situation

  • Bernie Sanders

    What ever happened to til death do us part … well in this case it did . I think it is terrible today that people have to divorce they can’t deal with there problems ..

    please WORK AT IT ! stop being BITCHY and deal with everyday life . Poeple and the family need to stick together and not be seperated , go to counciling or talk with friends or your parents and work at it , This was so awful if they could have worked out the problems it might have been a better outcome !!

    • Tito

      Why are you blaming the woman here?

      • inshock

        There is more to this story. She berated him for 10 years. Her family berated him all in front of the children. Trying to turn the children against their father. Years of abuse. He was devoted family man.It doesnt make it right, but…… I think it was a crime of passion, they most likely ended up in an argument that went completely wrong. He most likely accidentally killed her, panicked and killed everyone including himself. There was never a sign A horrific end to all concerned.

        • christine

          You are crazy! He had a gun without a license. He stopped working so his child support or alimony would be less. He was a psychotic animal. He was going to court in two days to be free from the so called “Verbal abuse”. Reports say the that most of the custody stuff was hashed out already and he was going to see and have ample time with his kids after the divorce. Her father begged Amy to leave the marriage many times and she kept saying “it is a more stable home for the kids when the parents are married”. Sam Friedlander was unstable and selfish. He should have gotten help or stayed on his medication. How dare you express sympathy for a man who has taken 3 productive lives in this world. People go through difficult times all over this world, much more difficult than narcissistic Sam Friedlander! What would have those children become? What could they have contributed to society in years to come with a smart and ambitious mother like Amy. Accidentally? You need to get a clue. Her third pregnancy that HE made her abort may be the only thing that was an accident here. God help other women that are in terrible situations that are proliferated because of people like you. Take responsibility and put the blame where it should be, there are no excuses here!

  • Liberals Are Evil

    What a freakin’ coward to kill innocent people especially those poor kids. For that there is a special place in hell for him. As for the mom and her two angels, rest in peace with God.

  • lieutenantdan

    We must look into the family court system and the supreme court system and the unjust the system is placing on the American family. The court system may appear to be bias against Fathers. Misandry.
    This system places great pressure on all involved especially the Fathers.
    If the shoe were to be on the other foot than we may see more mothers acting out their anger due to the possibility of losing their children.

    • john

      are you seriously condoning this man’s behavior? The system may not be perfect but it doesn’t give anyone the right to kill three people, nevermind the two innocent children here! You have got to be kidding!

    • Liora Tziporah Farkovitz

      John, education yourself, please. 58,000 abused mothers lose custody of their children to their abusive partners (obviously this guy was a control freak or he wouldn’t have killed his family to maintain control over their divorce… Men complain about a welfare state – but their is an entire tier of DHHS funding available only to fathers through the Office on Child Support Enforcement. The problem is that abusive behavior is not properly addressed in the courts, or by the police, and there is no safe recourse for victims. Your tax dollars are being wasted, child support confiscated and placed into judicial slush funds – to the tune of trillions. This is not about fathers being victimized. This is about a failure of the courts to ALL family members.

      • Liora Tziporah Farkovitz

        educate…not education

    • Christine

      I don’t think you would see more mothers doing what Sam did! The courts give joint custody to most of the stable mothers and fathers with the physical custody
      rights going to the mothers most of the time. As it should be, most women I know are the main caretakers in a parenting situation, it is just nature. Naturally a woman who gives birth to her children would be the better care taker most of the time with some exceptions to the rule.

  • Debi Slagle

    This is the worst case scenario of domestic abuse. It makes one almost scared to leave a spouse and/or file for divorce. Sure, there is disharmony and hurt feelings, etc., but life goes on. It doesn’t matter if this guy was affluent and a lawyer, he definately was deranged. I can’t imagine what that wife was thinking as she was beaten to death, besides terror and pain. This was her husband and they shared love, marriage, and 2 children. I hope the children were at least asleep. How does this happen? I went thru a divorce many years ago so I know how painful it is, but to kill your family? Is it, “If I can’t have them, no one can” thinking? I don’t know. But this senario seems to be happening quite frequently. How sad. And my heart goes out to the police and medics, etc., who had to take care of this scene.

  • Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night

    Some people just can’t handle being on this planet. He should’ve just reproduced on Mars…know what I mean? There are NO guns on Mars, much safer. RIP, smh.

    • Aunt B

      The wife was bludgoned to death with the leg of a table. WE MUST OUTLAW TABLES, huh?

      • Bernie Sanders


    • David Bowie

      Is there Life on Mars?

  • SingleNow

    If you’ve ever been through a bitter divorce you possibly might understand this better. Not justifying it, but thinking when you percieve your life is crumbling around you (no, not just the splitting of the assets…) coupled with the stress, and the hurt, and the anger, and the dissappointment, and the gossip, and the personal failure, and the lawyers who want their cut, etc, etc, etc… For someone without the support they need. This could be the outcome.
    The Lesson? If your marriage is in trouble? Work on it. If you or a friend is going through a divorce? Make sure you get the support you need (therapy, financial counseling, family therapy. Lawyers? They don’t want you to communicate, they make more money that way…And last but not least? Be kind to one another. There was love there once.

    • Eileen Tracey

      No excuse in the world for this, divorce or not.. One can only imagine why they were getting divorced, considering that the animal resorted to murder.. A wimp & a coward, is what he was..I’m sure he professed loud & clear how much he loved his family, as long as they did his bidding.. May he rot in Hell !!!!

      • Billy Goat

        You clearly did not read SingleNow and exude enough anger in your remarks to a simple comment that I believe your trails would lead to Sam’s path. Heal well sick woman.

    • Ully

      …also having been there (male perspective) I agree.
      Get help, and wow…does life go on. I met my best friend and then married her a couple years after divorce was final.

      So glad to be out, so glad that life DOES move on guys.

      • SingleNow

        Thank you for your comment. If one man (or woman) who is on the edge reads it and seeks help, it is the best way to prevent another horrible tragedy. Life does go on. I am so glad it went on for you :)
        I can only imagine how difficult it must be for men to seek professional help and support when divorce happens (the stoic male, stiff upper lip). Advice like yours is so helpful.

  • Movie Lover

    This tragic real life story sounds like the movie “The Shining” where the father/husband was driven insane and tried to kill his family. he wasn’t able to, unlike this gentleman, and froze to death in a maze chasing his son.

  • tt


  • bullett

    When situations like this happen, my wife will always ask, “why the children”? I too agree, if you want to commit suicide go ahead, as for the innocent, leave them be. Just another said story with a very sad ending.

  • Renee

    Why didn’t the fact that neither child showed up for school raise any flags? I keep hearing that the concerns came from both the husband’s and wife’s colleagues about their respective absences. How come the elementary school didn’t wonder why both children were absent without any call from the parents? Not that it would’ve saved their lives, but police could’ve been on the scene as early as Tuesday morning. The whole thing is just horrifying and incredibly sad.

    • Carol

      Many schools have voicemail for parents to leave notice about a child’s absence. perhaps, knowing of this plans the dad actually called the school saying the kids would be absent. Or seeing that they were already dead, if the school did call the house they would have had to leave a message…. which isn’t uncommon & not raise suspicion.

  • Good parent

    Wonder if Sam is another Robert who is a short, low-life and essentially trailer park trash like Robert who wouldn’t pay his child support. Know who Robert is? He is currently with wife number four: “Ms. Mayer” in a seriously twisted and co-dependent relationship. At least Sam was not in the U.S. illegally.

    • Shorty

      Sounds like your missin that good lovin only a short man can deliver baby.

    • Worried Mom

      Who is “Robert”? Who is “Ms. Mayer”?

  • Protesting the Pathologically Greedy CEO

    I bet it will come out that Sam Friedlander had inhuman financial obligations like he shorted $2 million of stock and the price went up, or he lost a margin call, etc etc, and this was his only way out. Sad.

  • lijingjing

    Unknown message

    • yessiryeeeeee

      Sam should never have married a ________

  • isabel

    my granddaughter went to camp with the daughter. we are totally devasted

  • None Of Your Business

    If someone wants to kill himself/herself, go ahead and do the world a favor. But don’t kill the children and other adults who certainly would like to continue living and have every right to do so, despite the fact that the suicidal nutjob murderer has decided otherwise.

    • Kathbear03303

      I so agree

    • Double-R

      Its a shame, really. A whole family…gone. *smh*

    • liz

      The whole thing is just GOD AWFUL. Why kill you kids – how INSANE. I don’t know how people could just snap like that. There had to be something in this person’s history – some kind of “red flag” so that someone could have seen this coming!
      I hope the wife and the kids R.I.P.
      What a PITY

    • Janet

      How do the police know that he killed the kids? Maybe he beat the mother to death with the chair leg because she shot them and fought her for the rifle? And then after that the off’ed himself because he had nothing to live for? How are these conclusions made?

      • LC

        I agree. The papers haven’t offered too much info. There are so many unanswered questions. It seems so fishy and so unlikely that he might have even been set up – he was a criminal lawyer afterall – (Remember the movie Cape Fear? How the convict got out of jail and terrorized the lawyer’s family?) I find it strange that no one heard shots or screaming either. (If he bludgeoned her, there must have been yelling.) Jeeze, I wake up when I hear coyotes passing, or the neighbors dog barking when its so quiet out in the middle of the night. I guess I just want a clearer picture. I guess I just don’t want to believe that a father could killi his kids and wife. So incredibly sad.

  • Trust Fund Hero

    I blame Occupy Wall Street!

    • CT Native

      This is an ignorant comment.

    • Melissa

      yes,,,,occupy wall street did it….

  • molly

    bless the family any thing on athony callahan that rip off the lady in washington nc him and his wife did it they ned to do time for what they did that was cold you just donot known who to hel;p anymore he does not pay his child support for his kids maybe they will get him for that to

    • Cookie

      What on earth are you talking about?

    • confused


  • Confused

    God Bless their Souls. News report confusing…you title it murder suicide but you dont know who did the killing??

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