Metro-East man throws two sons, then himself off hotel balcony in Fla.
MIAMI BEACH, FLA. – Police in Florida say a doctor from the Metro-East killed his two young sons by throwing them off the 15th floor of a landmark South Beach hotel. He then jumped to his own death Saturday.
Edward Van Dyk, 43, tossed his two sons, Spencer and Carl, to their deaths around 8:20 a.m., Miami Beach Police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said. Spencer was 4, Carl was 8.
The children's mother, Qinuo, 40, was not physically injured. Hernandez said the family was vacationing at the Loews Hotel in South Beach and celebrating the couple's 10th wedding anniversary.
Qinuo Van Dyk heard one of her children screaming from an adjacent hotel room. When she walked into the room she saw her husband going over the balcony, Hernandez said. When she looked over the railing she saw her husband and two children lying on the mezzanine roof, which is about two floors off the ground.
She told police that the couple had been having marital problems for the past six months, but had not been arguing right before the incident, Hernandez said.
People in neighboring rooms told police they did not hear anything. "It's a terrible tragedy. It's unfortunate that this gentleman was so selfish and in an effort to get back at his wife he took the two most loved people in the world away from her," Hernandez said.
Hernandez said Qinuo Van Dyk does not know what prompted her husband, a radiation oncologist at Alton Memorial Hospital, to do this. "There was no indication that he would be capable of doing something as horrible as this," Hernandez said. "She's totally in shock that this has happened and doesn't know why he did what he did."
Edward Van Dyk became head of the hospital's cancer center 18 months ago after the family moved from New Mexico, where he had practiced at the New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque, hospital officials said. The family lived in Godfrey.
"We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy and we offer our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Van Dyk and her family," hospital spokesman Rob Shelton said. Other doctors at the Illinois hospital described Van Dyk as quiet, intelligent and friendly.
Dr. Ed Ragsdale said Van Dyk dealt with patients who had severe forms of cancer, and their subsequent therapy. "It's a very stressful job," Ragsdale, chairman of the hospital's department of medical imaging, told The Alton Telegraph on Saturday. "It takes a strong person to deal with that kind of disease all the time."
Ragsdale told the newspaper that Van Dyk did not seem unusual when they spoke Friday afternoon at the hospital's monthly cancer conference, but did not mention he was traveling to Florida.
Police wheeled the three bodies into the hotel on gurneys covered in red sheets and loaded them into a medical examiner's van. Outside the hotel there were few indications of the events, except two police cars parked in front.
Hotel guest Christopher Carreras, from New York, who is staying on the 14th floor, said he could see where the victims had fallen. "They already had tents covering the bodies. You can't see nothing. It's like a big awning," said Carreras.
A Loews Hotel spokeswoman in Miami would not comment, but said there was an ongoing police investigation.