Pleasantville murder suicide: What led to a NYC based finance worker, (Tom) Chuan-Kai Liu stabbing to death his wife, their two children and then self?
Chuan-Kai Liu, 46, who went by the name Tom, used a knife to kill his wife Dorothy Liu, 42, and their children, Tennyson, 7, and Adeline, 4, inside their colonial-style home on Romer Avenue in Pleasantville, cops said. The father then fatally turned the knife on himself.
Notice of Thursday’s murder suicide followed police being called to the family home to do a wellness check just before 2pm after the children did not show up for school that day.
Offered Police Chief Eric Grutzner during a Friday press conference: ‘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.’
Grutzner would not reveal where in the house the bodies were found.
Grutzner 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.’
Pleasantville banker complained of work related stress:
Tom Liu was a project manager and business analyst at MUFG, a Japanese bank and financial services company. CBSNYLocal reports leading up to the murder suicide the finance worker had been complaining of work related stress.
Offered the finance company in a statement: ‘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.’
It remained unclear if the father risked being fired or failing to meet targets or feared his ability to continue making his quota at work. Also not immediately clear is the financial burden the family may have been to maintain their seemingly idyllic existence.
At what price the American dream?
The Liu’s had moved to Pleasantville from New York City in October 2016, because they had friends in the area and thought ‘it would be a much better outdoor life for the children’, according to a former neighbor spoken to by the NY Post.
Gloria Taplin, who lived in the same Forest Hills building as the Liu family’s old apartment – where Dorothy’s parents currently live – said that the young family had visited for Thanksgiving.
She added that they ‘weren’t troubled folks’, and that the children were ‘fantastic, smart kids’.
‘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,’ Taplin told the NY Post.
Richard Rolandi, a family friend, told the nypost that he was also stunned by 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,’ he said.
The tight knit community of Pleasantville was left reeling from the week’s earlier events.
‘Nothing ever happens here. The police don’t have anything to do. So when something like this happens, it’s devastating,’ neighbor Brian Skarstad told CBS 2 New York.
‘We know them very well. They’re just – this is the nicest family.’
Pleasantville School District grief counselors were on hand Friday to help family and friends cope with the sudden loss.
‘As you can imagine, our hearts are broken at the news of this incredible tragedy. This is a very small community and it impacts all of us in this small village,’ Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter said.
The population of Pleasantville is just under 8,000.