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Funeral held for kids driven into Hudson River by suicide mother

Police believe Lashandra Armstrong of Orange County, N.Y. killed herself and three of her children by driving her minivan into the Hudson River Tuesday night - one child managed to escape. Police announced Wednesday that the possible murder-suicide took place after Armstrong was involved in a domestic dispute, reports CBS station WCBS.
Personal Photo
Lashandra Armstrong
Personal Photo

(CBS/WCBS) SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. - A funeral service was held Monday for the three children who died after their mother, LaShanda Armstrong, drove their car into the Hudson River on April 12.

Pictures: Mom drives into river, kills 3 kids, 1 escapes

The private family service began at 11 a.m. in Spring Valley, followed by a private burial at 1 p.m. in nearby Congers. Five-year-old Landon, 2-year-old Lance and 11-month-old Laianna were killed when their mother loaded them into a minivan and drove it into the Hudson.

"They look beautiful, it's sad just looking at them knowing that they're just gone, they're not here anymore," one mourner told CBS affiliate WCBS.

According to reports, tensions erupted at the service when a relative of the mother walked out of the small funeral home saying, "I don't care. This side of the family matters."

Three small caskets were loaded into a waiting hearse after the service.

Only the children's 10-year-old brother LaShaun survived, rolling down a window and swimming to safety. Police said his mother tried to keep him inside the sinking van.

The tragedy stirred up mixed emotions for friends and family of the children and of their mother. LaShanda was buried alone on Thursday.

The children's father Jean Pierre decided not to allow the children to be buried with their mother, opting instead for Monday's separate service. It was a decision some of LaShanda Armstrong's family members don't agree with.

"I'm disappointed, because no matter what these are her children. The funeral plan was for her to be laid at rest with them so nobody should have changed them," said Channise White, LaShanda's cousin, told the station.

Complete coverage of the Hudson River tragedy on Crimesider