Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Was the Lashandra Armstrong Tragedy Another Consequence of Domestic Abuse?



Domestic violence once again rears its ugly head. While undoubtedly we will also hear about postpartum syndrome, domestic violence remains at the core of the problem. Lashandra Armstrong apparently got into a domestic dispute with her live in boyfriend. He apparently is the father of her youngest child. She then loaded her four children into a minivan. She then apparently drove herself and her four children into the Hudson River. Her 10 year old son apparently escaped the vehicle before it sank. Everyone else in the vehicle died. And just like that, Lashandra Armstrong and her three children perished from this earth in little more than a blink of an eye.


Lashaun Armstrong, the 10-year-old boy was apparently found by Mavis Ryan. The soaking wet boy was taken to a nearby fire station where he said that his mother had driven off a boat ramp in Newburgh. (This is about 60 miles north of New York City.) The ten year old apparently had a different father than his youngest sibling. Tragically, he lost his two brothers ages 5 and 2, and an 11-month-old sister. The minivan was found submerged in 10 feet of water about 25 yards offshore. The woman lived in an apartment near the river.


The domestic altercation allegedly occurred about 10 minutes before the woman drove into the river. The fatal ramp was located just a few blocks from her apartment in Newburgh.

A similar incident occurred a few miles south of Newburg in 2006. In 2007, Victor Han plead guilty to child endangerment when he put his daughters at risk when he stepped out of the family minivan on Bear Mountain in June 2006. Their mother, 35-year-old Hejin Han, then drove the Honda Odyssey off a 300-foot drop, killing Hejin but only injuring the children. the recent Newburg accident is also eerily similar to Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her young sons in 1994. (Susan is serving life for killing 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex by strapping them into their car seats and driving the car into a pond.)


The importance of reducing domestic violence is well known. Let's do something about it. LINK

Update 4-15-11: The apparent murder-suicide took place after Lashandra became upset with rumors that her boyfriend had been cheating on her. Apparently family members indicate that she had been acting strange and paranoid in the days leading up to the tragedy.

Update 4-27-11: Jean Pierre, the 26 year-old father, strikes back! Pierre wants it to be known that it was the children's mother, not him who took the lives of the kids by driving into the Hudson River. Pierre claims that he has been unjustifiably vilified as a cheater and as a deadbeat, both of which he and his lawyer deny. Fact is, Pierre works at Dunkin Donuts and actually was not married to Armstrong. Pierre was also active in his children's lives. (Pierre did apparently have a brush with the law when a child endangerment charge was brought when his 2 year old was found wandering the streets. This was apparently resolved with "parenting classes."

So why was Pierre the target? After the tragic April 12, deaths, it was a natural human impulse to want to blame someone. But in this case, Jean Pierre claims the focus on him is entirely misplaced. Pierre is represented by attorney Stephen J. Powers and Michael O'Connor. Now some may argue that if Pierre and Armstrong had a better relationship then Armstrong may have sought mental help instead of the suicide/murder route. (Police claim Armstrong was involved in a domestic incident just before she drove into the Hudson killing Landen Pierre, 5; Lance Pierre, 2; Lainaina Pierre and herself.)

10-year-old La'Shaun Armstrong was not Pierre's son. He escaped and said his mother had had a "big, big argument about my step dad's cheating on her." Technically Armstrong and Pierre were not married but they did share a long term off and on relationship.
Regardless of whether there was a marriage certificate, this tragedy shouldn't be blamed entirely on a boyfriend because he was not monogamous. Mental illness, not infidelity is the true culprit.

Pierre elected to have a separate funeral and burial for the children. Given how he has been treated, it is hard to criticize his decision.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sad story

Anonymous said...

Seems like she copycatted Susan Smith!

Anonymous said...

How can a mother do this????

Anonymous said...

It was not eminent that the dispute would result in a divorce and a custody battle.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right. Divorce is a reality whether real or threatened. And now days so is a custody fight. He who controls the kids controls the money.

Anonymous said...

That poor little boy. He will be haunted with this memory forever.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked the husband if in fact there was a fight? Has anyone determined what the fight was about?

Anonymous said...

What a sad loss of lives.

Anonymous said...

The mayor, Nicholas Valentine, has issued an official statement:
"In this case there is no logic... No one should do anything like this. Find another way out of it, especially with the children. Find help."

Anonymous said...

So true. But did it need to be said? The time for talking may be long past.

Anonymous said...

Police are not commenting on whether there was any history of mental abuse.

Anonymous said...

Lashandra is a murderer!

She could have done thousand other things.

She could have hid with her children,
she could have killed herself only,
she could have killed the husband
...but she chose to kill the children!

Completely sick and there is nothing that can excuse it.

Video Guy said...

As I have said before, recently...A woman is more likely to kill her children than a father. So why do the courts automatically give custody to the mother?

This is sad, and yes that lone living child will be haunted for a lifetime. We can never imagine how that child felt after swimming to shore knowing his family was drowning beneath the surface...and there was nothing he could do about it.

Anonymous said...

The practice of presuming kids should be with mom needs to stop!

Anonymous said...

Yes, this was murder! It was also mental illness!

Anonymous said...

Why are adults so thoughtless?

Legal Pub said...

Update 4-15-11: The apparent murder-suicide took place after Lashandra became upset with rumors that her boyfriend had been cheating on her. Apparently family members indicate that she had been acting strange and paranoid in the days leading up to the tragedy..

Anonymous said...

Baby momma apparently had some regrets once they were in the water and knew they were all going to die. Fortunately Lashaun escaped.

Anonymous said...

This baby momma was hardly more than a child herself. She was only 25. She had her first son at age 15.

Anonymous said...

According to Meave Ryan, Lashaun told her that his mom tried to put the van in reverse and repeated: "I made a mistake, I made a mistake."

Anonymous said...

Pehaps Lashandra had time to reconcile with God before this tragedy occured. May she R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

The green monster of jeolousy and the demon of rage can team up for some real evil actions.

Secrets said...

Cant agree that this is like Susan Smith. Susan got out the car cause the kids were getting in the way of her new relationship.

Clearly Lashanda was dealing with some serious mental illness.

Im not condoning or defending her actions..but I understand why she made that decision.

READ THE ARTICLE BELOW

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed – performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'"

DIFFERENT ARTICLE BELOW REGARDING HER STATE OF MIND LEADING UP TO THE DROWNING

Miss Armstrong's sister Darice told NBC's Today Show in an interview that Lashanda grew increasingly paranoid in the weeks before the tragedy.

She told the network that her sister 'felt someone was watching her', and described to her sister how 'lights in her home flickered on and off'

She also said that her sister claimed that pages of her
diary........

Secrets said...

.....were missing and that she was constantly apologizing for 'hurting them' in the past.

Legal Pub said...

Pierre wants it to be known that it was the children's mother, not him who took the lives of the kids by driving into the Hudson River. Pierre claims that he has been unjustifiably vilified as a cheater and as a deadbeat, both of which he and his lawyer deny.

Anonymous said...

Mentally ill people must snap more easily than the rest of us because this was just pure nuts.