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Woman, Son Drown in Detroit River in Murder-Suicide

August 2, 1996

DETROIT (AP) _ A 35-year-old woman who was said to be depressed about her family’s financial troubles took her two young sons by the hands and walked with them into the Detroit River, drowning herself and one of the boys.

Bozena Piatyszek of Hamtramck reportedly was distraught over some kind of failed business deal when she strode into the water on a sunny summer day Thursday near Belle Isle, an island park in the river.

One of the boys, whom neighbors identified as Rudolph, broke away from his mother when the water was up to his chest and struggled back to shore.

He ran to the Belle Isle Harbormaster police station and told officers his mother was trying to pull him into the water, Officer Otis Milhouse said. The boy’s age was not released.

Police in a boat pulled Rudolph’s 5-year-old brother, Phillip, from the water, but he died a short time later on the grassy shore. The boys’ mother also was pulled ashore but died at a hospital Friday morning.

Desiray Booker, 38, of Detroit, a security guard at the Belle Isle Boat Club, near where the three went into the water, said she could barely watch as the bodies were pulled from the river.

``When I saw them get the child’s body I just turned away,″ she said. ``He was very, very blue.″

Rudolph was not injured, but ``he keeps asking, `Why did Mommy do this?‴ the Detroit Free Press quoted an unidentified Harbormaster police officer as saying.

The officer said that when the woman’s husband came into the station to fill out a police report, he said they had been having financial difficulties.

``Apparently, the mother was very despondent over a failed business deal and financial problems,″ the officer said.

Neighbors in the working-class section of Detroit where the Piatyszeks lived said the family mostly kept to themselves but the boys played with other children in the neighborhood.

``This really came to us as a shock,″ said Muhammad Zaman, who said he had lived in the neighborhood since 1990 and that the Piatyszeks were there when he moved in.

He said he didn’t know the family well, but that the children were both good boys. He said he thought their mother was a baby sitter.

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