Created: 08/07/2014 10:21 AM
DREXEL HILL, Pa. (AP) — Two children taken from a Philadelphia-area home after a woman was slain were found safe in New York City early Thursday, and the children's father, a suspect in the slaying, was later found dead in a vehicle sought by police, authorities said.
Keith Belajonas, 32, was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gun-shot wound in a sports utility vehicle on a dead-end street in Staten Island a short time after the children were left at a CVS and hours after the Pennsylvania slaying.
Police were called around 2:30 a.m. Thursday to a home in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, where they found a blood trail on the front step. Inside the residence, they found the body of 28-year-old Christina Belajonas, who lived there with her sons, 5-year-old Robert and 4-year-old Christopher, according to Superintendent Michael Chitwood of Upper Darby police.
Chitwood said initial indications were that she had been shot in the head and had multiple stab wounds.
A neighbor reported seeing Keith Belajonas leaving the house with the boys.
"One of the two boys was overheard to say 'Is Mommy dead?'" Chitwood said.
An Amber Alert was issued. Around 6 a.m., the children were left at a CVS on Staten Island — about 100 miles from home. They appeared to be unharmed, but were taken to a hospital to be checked, New York City police Lt. Thomas Antonetti said.
Police said an employee told them that Belajonas, who had a gun but didn't display it in a threatening manner, entered the store and left the kids there, taking with him cigarettes and a can of beer. They didn't say what his relationship was to the CVS employee.
A short time after the suspect left CVS, the SUV was spotted nearby, on a dead-end street. SWAT teams descended on the vehicle and found the man dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, Antonetti said.
Pennsylvania detectives were on their way to speak to the children.
"Apparently the older of the two is telling everybody about 'Daddy killed Mommy' type thing. So obviously that's very traumatic for them," Chitwood said. "The goal now is to unite them with somebody, whether it's a family member or whatever. We've been in contact with the dead woman's father."
Chitwood said the couple had married in 2011 and had lived in the house for two years. The husband had no criminal record in Pennsylvania and local police had never been called to the house for any kind of domestic incident, he said.
Chitwood said authorities were investigating whether Keith Belajonas was responsible for a social media posting about a dispute with the victim. He said the Facebook posting contained words to the effect of "We had an argument. She was cheating on me. I won."
CVS said in a statement that officials were thankful that no one in the store was harmed and employees had been offered counseling.
"Our thoughts are with the children and family of the victim of this tragic incident," the statement said.
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