WANAQUE, N.J. – Two boys, ages 1 and 3, are recovering in a hospital after their father threw them over a New Jersey highway bridge during his murder-suicide attempt late Monday.
As authorities continue to investigate, Pequannock Police Capt. Christopher DePuyt is calling it a "miracle" the brothers are alive Tuesday morning following the 100-foot fall.
The family's nightmare began when the children's parents got into an argument inside their home and suddenly the man stormed off with the kids around 7 p.m., threatening to kill the boys, according to police.
"Happened very quickly and [the domestic disturbance] became secondary to why we were called there after he threatened to do harm to the boys," DePuyt told WPIX.
Police tracked them down via GPS on the father's cellphone and narrowed the location to a highway bridge on the I-287 over the Wanaque River.
"That bridge is a place where suicides have been attempted and committed before," DePuyt said.
Investigators believe the father climbed on top of his car and scaled an 8-foot "suicide prevention fence" with the boys before jumping off the bridge.
When responding officers arrived, they spotted the man's car parked on the bridge and began searching for them underneath the overpass.
All three were found near each other.
The father was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released.
DePuyt said the boys were conscious when police found them. The 1-year-old has a bruised lung and a concussion while the 3-year-old only has a concussion, police said.
Not only did they survive a terrifying drop, they landed within the woods located beneath the bridge and not the river.
"It's a miracle [they survived]," DePuty said.
There was no record of a police response to their Greenview residence before, police said. They had lived in the home for the past year.