WANAQUE, N.J. -- Friends knew the couple was having trouble, but no one could have dreamed that John Spincken would snatch up their two boys after a fight with his wife, drive to the Route 287 bridge over the Wanaque River and jump 100 feet with them in his arms Monday night.
The boys -- John, 3, and Frank, who turns 2 next month -- survived the fall. One had a collapsed lung and the other a spinal injury, a family friend told Daily Voice. They were in stable condition at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, a law enforcement source said.
Spincken, 37, was pronounced dead at the scene.
"They were just arguing the last couple of weeks," close family friend told Daily Voice, "but there was no sign that this could ever happen.
"Everyone's just confused and shocked. This is just not him. I'm lost for words."
The family survived a near-tragedy when young Frank stopped breathing less than a month after he was born, Sprincken posted on his Facebook page in December 2014:
"As I sit here in a hospital room and stare at my sick and sleeping baby boy, I can not help but think to myself how fortunate I am. Although I cannot remove the horrific image of my frantic wife holding my lifeless blue son, I am grateful of my instinctive reactions as well as caring neighbors and a fast acting EMT squad.
"I've never performed CPR in my entire life nor have I ever takin a CPR class. I instinctively saved Frankie's life with a few simple [breaths] of my own and was able to buy him enough time before our neighbor, [who] is a nurse, could help in reviving him. All of this happened within a matter of minutes[,] which felt like an eternity. The next thing I knew I heard an EMT say 'he's breathing...he's breathing!'
"I was still in a panic but those 2 words gave me a sense of relief. I then suddenly thought to myself, 'What if Fara wasn't holding Frankie when he stopped breathing'? 'What if I didn't give him mouth to mouth?' 'What if my neighbor wasn't home?' 'What if the EMT's came a minute later?'
"This is nothing short of a miracle! I ask that anyone taking the time to read this, please pray for our son. Also, remember these words, '[YOU'RE] BREATHING.'
"You see, we all have good days and bad days but at the end of the day we are BREATHING! Do not take life for granted, you never know when you will take your last breath."
Pequannock police alerted NJSP troopers from the Totowa barracks that Spincken was possibly jumping with his children after a domestic dispute just after 8 p.m.
His car was found on the shoulder of the overpass at milepost 56.4 in Wanaque near the Oakland border after State Police pinged his cellphone, they said.
The trio landed in a wooded area near the water, State Police said.
Spincken was pronounced dead at the scene around 9 p.m.
"Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives have determined that the father intentionally jumped with his two children," State Police said Tuesday morning. "The investigation remains active and ongoing, and there is no additional information available at this time."