PLEASANT VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The search for a missing mother came to a tragic end on Friday.
Police in Dutchess County announced Friday evening that a body found beside a road was that of the woman whose husband and two sons were found shot dead Thursday.
A man checking an empty home which had been up for sale spotted the body around 3 p.m. on Route 376 in the town of Wappingers Falls, Trooper Melissa McMorris said. The location is about 13 miles south of where her family was found in Pleasant Valley.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the discovery ended an intense search and dashed any hope that 43-year-old Sarwat Lodhi somehow might have survived the massacre of her family.
“It’s a murder-suicide in which the father, Abbas Lodhi, apparently shot and killed his two boys and his wife,” New York State Police Capt. John Ryan said.
Evidence found in Sarwat Lodhi’s car parked at their townhouse indicated she was grievously wounded, police said. Her sons attended school on Wednesday. Police believe their father, 49-year-old Abbas Lodhi, killed 13-year-old son, Mugthba, at their home in Pleasant Valley and then killed 9-year-old Zain at a shopping center, where Abbas Lodhi then took his own life.
The father and son were found dead in a car parked at a supermarket in Pleasant Valley around 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Capt. Ryan said.
The man who discovered the bodies said he was “just dumbfounded.”
“I saw a dead person in the vehicle,” the man, who did not want to be identified, told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.
Ryan said a shotgun believed to have been used in the killing was found with the car.
After those bodies were discovered, police went to the family home nearby and found the other boy shot dead.
One acquaintance said he can’t believe Abbas Lodhi could kill his family.
“He never complained. He didn’t seem like he had a crisis in his life. He seemed like he was pretty well happy-go-lucky,” Mark DeLucca said.
Police called the deaths a “family tragedy.” Ryan said the motive was unclear.
“I think it’s one of the most or more tragic things I have seen,” Ryan said. “I find myself having two young boys that — it’s emotional seeing what has happened to these kids. I couldn’t even put into words how tragic it is for all of us.”
Lenore Biscardi, who works next door to the Hyde Park pharmacy that was owned by Abbas Lodhi, said the father abruptly closed the store three weeks ago.
“I think he said it was like three months ago that his dad died and that’s when he just gave up,” Biscardi said. “He didn’t care about the business, he just gave up. That was his exact words.”
Originally from Pakistan, the Lodhis had lived in Pleasant Valley for just two months. The crime had neighbors in their former Goshen community stunned.
“That’s what’s sad. I have no idea how it unfolded or what happened,” former neighbor John Blaine told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco.
Those who knew the victims were struggling to understand how this could happen.
“Zain was a good kid. He was a big kid that always had a smile on his face. He was kind of quiet but he was a peacemaker. He was always the one that never wanted anyone to fight,” neighbor Michael Piccione said.
“The wife was very outspoken, very pleasant, smiled all the time,” Biscardi said. “It wasn’t a family that you would think anything was off. That’s what’s pretty shocking about the whole thing.”
“It’s sad, really sad. The story about his children affects me more. They were so young. It’s just really devastating,” neighboring business owner Angelina Siragusa said.
Grief counselors were at the boys’ schools, West Road Intermediate School and LaGrange Middle School, on Friday.
“Our hearts grieve for these children and their family,” Arlington Central School District Superintendent Brendan Lyons said in a statement. “I know that the entire Arlington community joins me in mourning the loss of these young lives.”
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