Friday, April 15, 2011

Newburgh unites in grief over drownings

CITY OF NEWBURGH — Small tributes to three dead children and a mother lined the ramp where weekend boaters usually stand on warm spring days.

Family members left a few memorials, but most of the stuffed animals and candles came from strangers compelled to respond to one of the worst nights Newburgh has ever seen.

LaShanda Armstrong, 25, drove her four small children into the Hudson River on Tuesday, killing all but her 10-year-old son, La'Shaun Armstrong, who escaped through a window and swam to shore.

Since that night, hundreds of people have visited the ramp. Reporters, pastors and heartbroken neighbors have stared into the water from that ramp and tried to figure out what went so wrong.

'Forgive me ... This Is It!'

"For a mother to harm her children, it has to be deep," Stephanie Faucher said from the shoreline.

Faucher joined about 60 people on Thursday for a prayer vigil. She, like most of the others, had never met Armstrong. But she has kids. She wondered if Armstrong had postpartum depression, as she'd had. She wondered if she felt overwhelmed with all those young kids and bills and everything else, as she had. She wished Armstrong had the same support she had.

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