CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- A man in the middle of a divorce fatally shot his two children in their beds, bludgeoned his wife to death with the leg from a piece of furniture, then killed himself in the basement of their suburban home, police said Wednesday.
The bodies of Amy and Sam Friedlander and their children, Gregory, 8, and Molly, 10, were discovered Tuesday afternoon, hours after their deaths, in affluent Cross River, north of New York City. All were in nightclothes, police said.
The couple had a divorce proceeding scheduled for Thursday but were still living under the same roof, in separate bedrooms, said State Police Maj. Michael Kopy. The husband was 50, the wife 46.
The children were found dead in their beds, shot in the torso and then covered with bedspreads, Kopy said. He said it wasn't yet known if they were asleep when they were shot.
Their mother lay dead on the floor of the master bedroom, amid the bloody evidence of a struggle, Kopy said. The furniture leg lay nearby and was likely the murder weapon, he said.
The father's body was in the unfinished basement, along with the shotgun he used.
Counselors were summoned for the officers who encountered the carnage and the investigators who processed the crime scenes scattered through the house.
Police had been alerted by the wife's worried business partner.
"She was aware that Mr. and Mrs. Friedlander had been involved in divorce proceedings and that she had not heard from Mrs. Friedlander during the day," Kopy said. "She felt that was unusual and she asked troopers to go out to the residence."
The partner, Deborah Bernstein, posted a notice on the website of the tutoring service she and Amy Friedlander ran.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Amy Friedlander and her children Molly and Gregory," it said. "Amy was not only a business partner but a personal friend and loving mother. She will be truly missed by us and the community at large."
Kopy said a domestic incident was reported at the house in 2006, with no arrest. He said Sam Friedlander had no criminal record.
The father worked as an attorney in the Bedford-Katonah area, handling "minor criminal matters," Kopy said.