The shock over the brutal Thursday deaths of a Pleasant Valley father and his two sons continued Friday with the discovery of the mother’s body near the Dutchess County Airport.
With that discovery, state police announced that the father was responsible for shooting his wife and sons before taking his own life.
Meanwhile, the tragedy also hit home in Hyde Park Friday as residents realized the dead man was a well-known local pharmacist who owned a small drugstore in the Haviland Shopping Center.
The three family members shot to death on Thursday were identified by police as Abbas Lodhi, 49, and his two sons, Zain, 9, and Mugthba, 13.
The bodies of Lodhi and one son were discovered in a car in the parking lot of the A&P supermarket in the middle of Pleasant Valley. The body of the other son was found in the family residence in what was reported to be a private, gated community on West Road in the town.
All three victims were found after a 911 call Thursday morning at 8:30am led police to the car in the supermarket lot. State police said a shotgun believed to be involved in the crimes had also been found with the car.
At the time, police began an all-out, 24-hour search for Sarwat Lodhi, 43, the boys’ mother.
State Police said late Thursday they believed she was a victim, not a suspect, and was injured and in need of medical attention. On Friday, in a late-afternoon news release, they confirmed that a woman’s body, found around 3pm Friday off Route 376 and Hackensack Heights Road in Wappingers Falls, had been positively identified as the missing mother.
The body was discovered by a local resident who called 911, the police said. The police report said she was a victim of a gunshot wound.
“We have now determined that this investigation is consistent with that of a murder-suicide,” the report added.
According to local media reports, the Dutchess County Chief Medical Examiner said Friday that autopsies showed Lodhi and his sons each died of a single shotgun blast to the chest.
The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce lists Lodhi as owner of the Hyde Park Pharmacy for the last four years. The pharmacy had shut down recently, and neighboring business owners in the strip mall on Route 9G reportedly said Lodhi sold the business three weeks ago.
The two Lodhi sons attended Arlington schools, according to a message posted by Superintendent Brendan Lyons on the school district website.
In his message, Lyons said, “It is with great sorrow that I must inform you that two Arlington students — a fourth grade student at West Road Intermediate School and an 8th grade student at LaGrange Middle School — passed away this morning. As a school district, our hearts grieve for these children and their family.”
Even before their Friday pronouncement, police had been calling the sad events “a family tragedy” and said they believed no one outside the family was involved.