John Spincken took his two toddlers with him as he jumped from a 100-foot bridge in New Jersey in what the 37-year-old had planned as a murder-suicide.
Instead, the two young boys, ages 1 and 3, survived the plunge into the icy Wanaque River in what officials are calling a miracle.
Spincken made the fatal jump just after 8 p.m. on Monday night, driving his boys to the Interstate 287 overpass and either throwing them or holding the boys as he jumped over the edge, CNN reported.
Though John Spincken died in the fall, both of the boys were alive when rescue crews found them. Police have called it a miracle for the young boys to survive a plunge that should have been fatal.
“When the officers found the children conscious and alert, it was nothing short of a miracle, that’s for sure,” said Capt. Christopher DePuyt of the Pequannock Township Police Department.
The exact events leading John Spincken to make his suicide plunge are not fully known. Police responded to his home early on Monday for a domestic violence call with Spincken’s wife telling officers that John had threatened to harm the boys and then drove off with the young children.
Police were able to to use a GPS signal to track Spincken’s car to where he had parked it on the Interstate 287 overpass. The boys were found alive in a wooded area underneath the bridge. Spincken was declared dead on the scene.
The two young boys had suffered injuries but were conscious, and paramedics treated them at the scene before transporting them to nearby St. Joseph’s Medical Center. They were listed in fair condition.
DePuyt later explained that the boys might have hit the trees during the plunge, breaking their fall. It was not known whether Spincken threw the boys off the bridge separately or held them as he jumped, but police think they may have gone separately.
There was a 10- to 12-foot suicide prevention fence on the bridge, NJ.com reported, but Spincken bypassed it to make the jump. Police believe he may have thrown both boys over the fence first before climbing over it to make his own jump.
“It’s a difficult fence to get over, so it would be tough to imagine he would be carrying the children,” DePuyt said.
The murder attempt came as a shock to Spincken’s neighbors, who said they saw no signs of trouble in the otherwise quiet family.
“I can’t imagine a parent doing that to their child,” neighbor Sandra Guiliano told NJ.com.
“That’s a terrible thing. How could you do that do your children?” added neighbor Tom Gitin. “A 1-year-old has nothing to do with that.”
John Spincken owned an auto detailing business that specialized in luxury cars and had moved with his family into a new $589,000 home last June.
There also could have been some signs of trouble in his business. NJ.com found that the state had filed a $26,666 tax lien against him last year and another for $7,755 in 2014. There were also some public allegations that his work was shoddy, the report found.
“John is a dishonest business owner with zero integrity and I do not recommend this establishment to anyone,” one person wrote in an online review.
Police also said that Spincken had a history of domestic violence incidents, NJ.com reported.
In July 2003, Spincken pleaded guilty to violating a domestic violence restraining order and unlawful possession of a weapon, according to court records. The weapon was apparently a pellet gun. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years of probation.
Police are still investigating why John Spincken jumped off the bridge with his two young children. They are asking anyone who might have witnessed the jump to contact them.
[Featured Image by Fara Araullo/Facebook]