'Stressed' New York banker stabs wife, two children to death before using same knife to kill himself
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK: A married couple and their two young children were found dead in their home in New York on Thursday, December 5.
The victims have since been formally identified as 46-year-old Chaun-Kai (Tom) Liu, his wife, Dorothy Liu, 42, and their two children Tennyson, 7, and Adeline, 4.
Police discovered the bodies at the Liu residence at 57 Romer Avenue in the village of Pleasantville after they were called there to do a wellness check just before 2 pm when the kids did not turn up for school.
According to parents in the community, Tennyson was in the second grade and his sister was in Pre-K, reported News12.
Police Chief Eric Grutzner said at a press conference on Friday afternoon that, "Evidence strongly suggests that Mr. Liu used a knife to cause the death of his wife and children, and then used that same knife to take his own life. While we do not have a motive, interviews indicate that Mr. Liu was under a considerable amount of stress. There are no reports of domestic violence at the family home."
The chief refused to disclose where the bodies were found in the house but added: "Throughout the entirety of this investigation, the only information we found was that they were a wonderful, involved set of parents with two incredibly active and amazing children."
The husband was a project manager and business analyst at MUFG, a Japanese bank and financial services company. The firm has since released a statement that read: "We are greatly saddened by the tragic loss of Tom Liu and his family. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their family, friends, and colleagues during this most difficult time. We are working to support our employees affected by this tragedy in any way we can."
Mary Fox-Alter, the school district's superintendent, said that these wellness checks are asked for if a child doesn't show up at school and if neither of the parents can be contacted.
In these cases, the police often try to make a way in through a door or window or even seek the fire department's assistance with entering the home.
"When we receive notification to do a wellness check, we attempt to find a way to get in open door or window and then go through the house to determine whether any cause of alarm. In the vast majority of cases, there is not, but in this case there was," Grutzner said, as this case required the police to enter through an open door.
Back in October 2016, the Lius had moved to Pleasantville from New York City as they had friends in the area and believed 'it would be a much better outdoor life for the children', a former neighbor called Gloria Taplin told NY Post.
Taplin, who lived in the same building as the Lius did before moving, said the family had recently visited for Thanksgiving as Dorothy's parents still live in their old home.
Adding that the couple 'weren't troubled folks', and that the children were 'fantastic, smart kids', Taplin told the outlet: "I never saw any negativity on Tom’s part at all. I saw them together all the time. They went out together did things together, shopped."
Family friend Richard Rolandi also told New York Daily News how shocked he was to hear the news. "They were like the perfect family—a beautiful man and wife, and two beautiful kids. He lived for his kids. She always made cookies for Halloween. He was laid-back and his wife was sweet."
As investigators combed the crime scene after the disturbing discovery in the tight-knit community, neighbor Brian Skarstad told CBS 2 New York: "Nothing ever happens here. The police don’t have anything to do. So when something like this happens, it’s devastating. We know them very well. They’re just – this is the nicest family."
"As you can imagine our hearts are broken at the news of this incredible. This is a very small community and it impacts all of us in this small village," Fox-Alter told WCBS.