A distraught mother who struggled with financial and marital difficulties steered the family car into a lake, drowning herself and her three young children, police concluded Wednesday.
The bodies of Tina Reid, her 3-year-old son Timothy and daughters Veronica, 9, and Amanda, 6, were pulled from beneath French Creek six days before Christmas. The family had been missing since Dec. 10.
Investigators have concluded that Reid deliberately turned off Route 322, slowly crossed about 30 feet of grass and rocks and entered the creek at a right angle. Tire tracks showed the Dodge Intrepid did not skid or veer.
The case had baffled authorities who had searched for evidence of foul play or an accident. A note left for Reid’s estranged husband Wayne said that she and the children “were going to go far, far away and he wouldn’t see them again,” state trooper Mark Zaleski said.
Investigators discovered that Reid had been deep in debt and recently had obtained an order of protection from Wayne.
“We all have problems handling this,” said Arden Hughes, the county coroner. “I think she thought she had no other direction to go. I think she thought she was doing what was best for her and her kids.”
Reid’s mother, Dolores Burrows, rejected the investigation’s conclusions, saying her daughter had planned to drive to Florida to escape her abusive husband.
“I will never accept it,” Burrows said. “You bet she was going to Florida. The police failed us.”