WILKES-BARRE -- A mother, father, and toddler were found dead following a murder-suicide in Luzerne County.
State police say a father killed his ex-girlfriend in Wilkes-Barre, then drove the couple's young son to nearby Pittston Township where he killed the boy and himself.
Sharae Thompson was just 21 years old. Friends say she was hoping to find a career and provide for her 3-year-old son Xander.
Stunned family members arrived on McLean Street on Saturday after learning the devastating news.
According to troopers, Zackary Yashkus, 23, shot and killed Thompson in the driveway of an apartment house in Wilkes-Barre. Then, he drove the couple's 3-year-old son to Pittston Township, shot the toddler who was sitting in a car seat, and then turned the gun on himself.
Officers found the father and son inside a vehicle on the median of Interstate 81. Yashkus was dead at the scene. The little was boy rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
Friends say they feared something like this would happen, because they say Yashkus was abusive to his ex-girlfriend.
"I have always worried about Zack. He's always just--I don't know," said Tanya Luton, a friend.
According to court papers, Thompson was found inside her Jeep. Police later towed it away.
A neighbor recalled seeing the young family getting in and out of the same vehicle.
"They always parked here and I would speak to the baby, and the mother would say hi. Cute baby, real cute. He would have the baby and she would have the baby," said neighbor Leona Flannery.
After Thompson was discovered dead, neighbors held out hope for hours that her son would be found safe, but as more stunned relatives arrived, breaking down in tears, the full horror of what happened was revealed.
"No one deserves this, but it's just shocking, so shocking, you know?" said Malinda Hunter, victim's friend.
So far investigators have not released what may have motivated Yashkus to take those two lives and his own.