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Lillian Robinson's voice filled with pride as she talked about her 9-month-old grandson, Noah Julian.
"Noah was a beautiful baby. Very smart, energetic, crawling. He had five teeth. He was starting to pull himself up. He was a very strong baby, very strong and he loved the water. He loved being bathed," Robinson said.
On Tuesday morning, Robinson, who lives in Plainfield, learned the baby and her daughter, Tamequa Robinson, 30, of Edison, had died after her daughter's car was found submerged in New Market Pond near Stelton Road and Lakeview Avenue in Piscataway.
Piscataway police found the vehicle floating in the pond about 5:35 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.
Inside the vehicle police discovered a woman and baby who were pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. The two were later identified as Tamequa Robinson and her son.
And while the cause of death remains undetermined pending the completion of autopsies by the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, Robinson said she believes her daughter drove into the pond where they both drowned.
Robinson said her daughter apparently wrote a message on her phone before it went under water, apologizing to her family and expressing hope of going to heaven.
She said her daughter had been overwhelmed with financial struggles as well as the demands of being a young single mother.
Her daughter had faced mental health struggles in the past, she said, adding her daughter didn't always know how to express herself and had difficulty dealing with a lot of pressure.
Robinson said her daughter was struggling to complete tasks while also keeping up with an active baby.
She said her daughter and grandson were attached.
"They were so close, she didn't want anyone else to watch that baby but me. She didn't want the baby to go to day care," Robinson said. "She didn't want nobody to have that baby. She took that baby with her."
Tamequa Robinson attended Plainfield schools, including the high school, before her mother moved to neighboring North Plainfield where her daughter met some people from Bloomfield.
"She was determined to go to college," Robinson said, adding her daughter moved to the Essex County community and got her own place not far from Bloomfield College.
Tameque Robinson's LinkedIn page indicates she graduated from Bloomfield College in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
After college she began worrying about bills, her mother said, adding her daughter was struggling to keep up with all the payments.
She said her daughter, a quiet person, was having trouble coping. She had moved to an apartment in Edison in September but was currently unemployed.
"I would ask if she was alright, but she would give me a phony smile or when I asked where she was going with the baby, she would say they were good," said Robinson, who often spoke to her daughter and the baby on the phone or through FaceTime.
Robinson said she last saw her daughter on Sunday, Jan. 16, after she had brought the baby over on Saturday and spent the night.
"I tried to call her Monday during the day and at night. I called at 9:30 p.m. and that's when she was in the car and I was asking her where she was, and she said she was sitting in the car. She said she had just put the groceries in the house and the baby was asleep," Robinson said.
Although her daughter said she was in front of her apartment, Robinson now questions that.
"She didn't look like she needed help or anything, but I wondered why she was outside the building," said Robinson, who now thinks her daughter was at the park by the pond that night.
Robinson said once the autopsies are completed, the bodies of her daughter and grandson will be taken to a Plainfield funeral home.
"They (mother and son) will be buried together in the same casket," Robinson said.
Robinson created a GoFundMe.com page called Going Home Service 9 month Noah to raise $15,000 for her daughter's and grandson's funeral.
"This world became to much for my daughter to handle and she took her life along with my grand baby. My heart aches as I now know the tragic results of battling bipolarness and postpartum depression," Robinson wrote.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: NJ mom who drove in pond with baby was struggling financially: family