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Funeral held for mom in Hudson River drownings

April 22, 2011 2:51:51 AM PDT
The mother who killed herself and three of her children by driving into the Hudson River in Newburgh was laid to rest Thursday.

In the end, it was just one white casket being brought out of First Baptist Church.

It was a lone funeral for Lashanda Armstrong.

It was an emotional goodbye to the young mother who last week killed herself and her three children in Newburgh.

An overflow crowd of hundreds of mourners packed the church where Armstrong's deadly act was described as one of God's mysteries.

Her three kids were represented in pictures and had balloons bearing their names.

Wednesday, Armstrong's boyfriend, Jean Pierre, abruptly chose to hold separate funerals for his children.

It was a decision which was met with sharp criticism by Lashanda's friends and family.

"If he loved her, then he should let them be buried together," family friend Doris Davis said. "Why wouldn't he?"

Pierre who had a stormy relationship with Armstrong did not attend Thursday's funeral.

Among those who did come to pay her respects was the Good Samaritan who picked up the sole survivor, /*La'Shuan Armstrong*/ who escaped the sinking car.

The funeral and wakes happened as La'Shuan struggles to cope with what happened.

"It's just so shocking and upsetting, because, it's like, my son could've died," La'Shaun's father, /*Todd Johnson*/, said.

Speaking from the /*Woodbourne Correctional Facility*/, Johnson told Eyewitness News that he's thankful La'Shaun is still alive.

Lashanda Armstrong killed herself and 5-year-old /*Landen Pierre*/, 2-year-old /*Lance Pierre*/ and toddler /*Lainaina Pierre/*, who would've turned 1 year old on Wednesday, when she drove off a dock and into the river.

"I feel that she found herself in a situation which she was incapable of finding a rational solution in her mind," Johnson said.

Meantime, Jean Pierre is speaking out, following reports he got into a dispute with Lashanda on the night of the tragedy.

In a statement, Pierre said, "I have been inaccurately portrayed as being directly responsible for the tragedy. If I could, I would have changed some things in my past. I loved Landen, Lance, Lainaina, Lashanda and still love La'Shaun with all my heart, and am shocked and distraught by what happened."

On Wednesday, Pierre kept his face hidden at the dock that Lashanda drove off of as family members commemorated what would have been Lainaina's first birthday.

The three children will be buried 10 miles away on Monday.

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