NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two children were safe Thursday afternoon, after being at the center of an AMBER alert that crossed two different state lines.
As CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported, the children’s father was suspected of killing his wife and abducting the two children from a Philadelphia-area home, before committing suicide on Staten Island as police closed in on him.
At around 3 a.m., Thursday, Keith Belajonas, 32, killed his wife, Christina, 28, in their apartment in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, police said.
He then fled 100 miles north with their two sons – Christopher, 5; and Robert, 4 – triggering an AMBER Alert, police said.
“Apparently, the older of the two is telling everybody about a ‘daddy killed mommy’ type thing,” said Upper Darby, Pennsylvania police Supt. Michael Chitwood. “So obviously, it’s very traumatic.”
On Thursday morning, he posted a chilling clue about the motive on Facebook.
Chitwood said it involved “words similar to ‘we had an argument, she was cheating on me, I won.’”
Afterward, Belajonas drove off, passing through New Jersey before arriving on Staten Island. Upon getting there, investigators said he robbed his own brother, who works at a CVS Pharmacy, police said.
As 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported, Belajonas did not threaten anyone with a gun, although it may have been visible.
Belajonas took cigarettes, money and beer, police said. He then left the kids behind and fled the scene, police said.
Someone alerted police to the location of Belajonas’ Nissan Pathfinder at a dead end on Bartlett Avenue near Katan Avenue, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.
“You don’t know what goes through people’s minds, you know, what causes people to do things like this,” Debbie Vella said, who watched as NYPD officers taped off the dead end road.
Police were at the end of the block when they heard a gunshot, Papa reported.
“The car whipped the corner, went to the dead end,” witness Chris Baldassano told CBS 2’s Jiang. “Cops started blocking off the street. Then I heard a gunshot.”
Police then swarmed the sport-utility vehicle, where Belajonas was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Christopher and Robert were found safe at the nearby CVS drugstore.
The family had been struggling, according to police. Last week, Christina Belajonas was fired from a nursing center, and their home was in shambles, Jiang reported.
“Cat urine everywhere,” Chitwood said. “I don’t know where the two little kids slept, I really don’t. The place was a really, really nasty place.”
The boys were taken to Richmond University Medical Center for observation, Miller reported. Grief counselors were helping them deal with losing both parents.
Officials are looking to turn the boys over to a close relative, Miller reported.
Police said Belajonas did not have a criminal record in Pennsylvania, and they were never called to the family home for domestic violence.
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