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Millburn man kills son, then himself 

Leaving body home, he walks onto tracks

Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Star-Ledger Staff

An out-of-work investment banker killed his 8-year-old son, then went to the Short Hills train station, where he crouched on the tracks and was struck by an NJ Transit commuter train yesterday afternoon, authorities said. 

Richard Josephs, 53, of the Short Hills section of Millburn was killed at about 3:40 p.m., said Penny Bassett Hackett, a spokeswoman for NJ Transit. 

Millburn Mayor Thomas C. McDermott Jr. said Eric Josephs, a second-grader at the Hartshorn Elementary School, was found dead at the family's home at 25 Hobart Gap Road, about a half-mile from the station. 

"It was a murder-suicide," said McDermott Jr., who knew the boy. "I'm kind of stunned at this point. It's a horrific tragedy." 

It was not immediately known how much time lapsed between the deaths of the son and his father. Nor was it known who discovered the boy's body or whether Josephs' wife, Vivian, was home when the boy was killed. McDermott said the wife was at police headquarters last night. 

"We're shocked and terribly saddened by this tragedy," Millburn School Superintendent Richard Brodow said last night. "We feel horribly for the family, and we will be doing our very best to comfort a large faculty and student body and a community." 

A neighbor who asked not to be identified said Eric took violin lessons and played soccer. "Obviously, I'm very upset," the man said. 

Millburn Police Capt. David Barber said police had not been previously called to the Josephs' address. Police refused to elaborate on how the boy was killed or comment on a possible motive. 

The neighbor said Richard Josephs was an investment banker on Wall Street but had been unemployed for several years. Vivian Josephs works at the United Nations, he said, though he was not sure in what capacity. 

The couple had no other children, the neighbor said. 

The block around the Josephs' house, near Route 24, was cordoned off last night, and traffic was diverted to keep away the curious. 

The father was struck by an eastbound Midtown Direct train along the Morris & Essex Line, about a 150 yards west of the Short Hills station, said Bassett Hackett. 

He was crouching on the tracks as the train approached. The engineer blew his whistle and applied the emergency brakes, Bassett Hackett said. 
Staff writers Russell Ben-Ali, Elizabeth Moore, Mary Jo Patterson and Ted Sherman contributed to this report. 

Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved.

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This page last updated 11/1/2003.