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Thursday
Apr142011

Mom Who Drowned Family in Hudson River Tried to Back Out at Last Moment

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A woman who drove her minivan into the frigid waters of the Hudson River, killing herself and her three small children, changed her mind at the last minute, throwing the car into reverse and admitting her mistake to her 10-year-old son who swam to safety.

On Thursday, the boy, Leshaun Armstrong, returned to the dock from where his mother drove into the water. He was accompanied by members of his family.

Minutes after an argument with her boyfriend and father of her three youngest children Tuesday night, Leshanda Armstrong posted an eerie message on Facebook, packed her four children into her minivan, and headed for the Hudson River in Newburgh, N.Y.

Her Facebook message, posted at 7:13 p.m. Tuesday, said, "I'm so sorry everyone forgive me please for what I'm gonna do.... This Is It!!!!" During the ride to the river, her son says she told her children, "You're all going to die with me."

Despite her decision to kill her family, evidence from the scene and interviews with Lashaun indicate that she changed her mind once the vehicle began filling with water.

When police were able to pull the car out of the water Wednesday, they noticed that the gearshift was in reverse, said Lt. Bruce Campbell, a member of the dive team and department spokesman.

Leshaun Armstrong told Maeve Ryan, a Good Samaritan who found Leshaun, who was soaking wet, that his mother was holding onto all four children, including two boys aged 5 and 2 as well as an 11-month-old daughter as the car hit the water. As water rushed in through the windows and the car sank in eight feet of water 25 yards from shore, Leshaun broke free, crawled out a window and swam to safety.

Police also said there were indications that the mother had unbuckled the children and may have been holding them together.

Armstrong's last moments were filled with terror, regret and tenderness. The boy said that just before reaching the water, Armstrong made a final cellphone call to her own mother asking forgiveness. And as he struggled to get out of the car, Leshaun said his mother kissed his head and gave him her blessing.

Minutes before Armstrong left with her kids driving to boat ramp, her aunt called Newburgh police to report the woman and her boyfriend, Jean Pierre, had been having a fight. By the time police arrived at the home, the women and her children were gone.

Leshaun Armstrong is currently staying with relatives.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio