OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two young children of a couple who died in what authorities are calling an apparent murder-suicide are now in the custody of relatives.

Police still haven’t released how 39-year-old Anthony Trapp died, but said he killed himself inside the Bear Mountain Bridge Motel after murdering his estranged wife and taking off with their two little girls.

It was a tragic end to a troubled marriage.

“They were a good couple when they first moved here, had good times,” said friend Vinny Allen.”Like any other marriage, fights happen and they went ways and started to get separated.”

Police say 37-year-old Heather Trapp was stabbed to death inside the Old Bridge, New Jersey home where the couple once lived together.

Neighbors say she shared custody of the children and was picking them up.

“He lost his job and he supposedly had some medical problems,” said Allen. “He had surgery and then a lot went downhill.”

The two little girls, ages 5 and a 20 months, weren’t harmed.

They walked out of the motel room early Friday morning where they had been barricaded with their father.

“The oldest daughter, she kept crying for her daddy,” said witness Justine Lindahen. “She kept saying they wanted her daddy.”

Police issued an AMBER Alert Friday when they say Trapp took off with his kids in his estranged wife’s car and traced him to the motel.

As officers surrounded the motel, the two little girls walked out on their own. Officers scooped them up and pulled them to safety.

When troopers finally went inside the motel room more than an hour later, they found Trapp dead on a bed in what officials have called an apparent suicide.

The Trapps married in October 2004 in Livingston, N.J., at a ceremony overseen by a rabbi and a Catholic priest. After honeymooning in Hawaii, they settled in Old Bridge in a tidy, brown-shingled single-family home on a quiet cul-de-sac.

Heather Trapp, formerly Heather Newman, was originally from Staten Island, where she graduated from Port Richmond High School before receiving an associate degree in dental hygiene from New York City Technical College and then working as a dental hygienist at a Manhattan practice.

Anthony Trapp went to high school in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in finance. He worked with Jemmco Capital in Manhattan before joining the New York office of the French financial services company Societe Generale.

Trapp filed suit against the company, where he worked as a senior auditor from 2006 to 2009, claiming he was unlawfully terminated and discriminated against because of an ongoing disability, according to court papers.

Trapp claimed in the suit he had been diagnosed in 2008 with a genetic disorder he identified as Marfan syndrome, describing it as a genetic disorder affecting connective tissues that forced him to undergo open-heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.

Returning to work following the surgery, Trapp claimed in his suit that supervisors and colleagues began a continuous campaign of insulting, harassing and giving him unwarranted negative performance reviews. He said his complaints of harassment to supervisors went unheeded, describing in court papers how co-workers would taunt him with insults like “you cry more than your daughter” and “stop being a baby” or teasing him about working a half-day when he left early for medical reasons.

The situation culminated with him being terminated in December 2009, after Trapp alleged a company attorney confronted him and claimed that Marfan syndrome was “not a real disorder” and that none of Trapp’s allegations of harassment was substantiated, according to court papers.

The company denied Trapp’s allegations.

The suit claimed Trapp was shocked and devastated by his treatment, had suffered loss of self-confidence and self-esteem and was forced to see a therapist for depression and severe emotional distress. He said his wife had filed for divorce due to the economic harm inflicted on the family by his job loss.

Old Bridge Township resident Anthony Dalasi was close friends with the Trapps, and said he and his wife are devastated by their neighbors’ deaths.

“She was one of the best people we ever met. She would do anything for her children,” Dalasi said. “Even while they had their problems, her children were her main priority.”

He said Anthony Trapp had been unemployed and Heather Trapp still worked as a dental hygienist in New York City.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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