Search for kids thrown off Ala. bridge

January 9, 2008 8:30:42 AM PST
Authorities searched Wednesday for the bodies of four children believed to have been thrown off a bridge by their father after he had a dispute with his wife.

Lam Luong, 37, of Irvington confessed Tuesday night to driving to the Dauphin Island bridge, stopping and tossing the youngsters off the span, which is as high as 80 feet above the water in places, Detective Scott Riva said. Luong faced charges of four counts of capital murder and was due in court Wednesday, Riva said.

Police Chief John Joyner said Luong, who came to this coastal town from Vietnam in 1984 and worked in the commercial fishing industry, apparently had a dispute with his wife, Ngoc Phan, before taking the children to the bridge.

Missing and presumed dead were 4-month-old Danny Luong; 1-year-old Lindsey Luong; 2-year-old Hannah Luong; and 3-year-old Ryan Phan. Phan is not the man's biological child, but Luong raised him from infancy, authorities said.

At least three boats were being used in the search, and the Coast Guard was sending another boat and a helicopter, Riva said.

Joyner said he feared the search of the Intracoastal Waterway below the bridge would be hampered by bad weather and choppy waters. The bridge extends from the mainland to Dauphin Island, which lies between the waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.

"It's been a nightmare," said Riva.

Luong is jailed in Mobile, and Riva said he did not know whether he had a lawyer. There was no telephone listing for him. The couple lived with Phan's mother at Bayou La Batre, a fishing village with a large Southeast Asian community. Phan was in seclusion Wednesday morning in the brick home, the front porch cluttered with children's shoes.


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