An Iowa mother allegedly pulled her 8-year-old son into the path of an oncoming train in what police have deemed a murder-suicide.
KCCI reported that Teresa Gerleman, 35, and Henry Fields, 8, were fatally struck at a crossing in Belle Plaine at 5 a.m. on May 4. Interviews and footage captured by Union Pacific Railroad led officials to determine that Gerleman had pulled Fields onto the tracks, killing them both.
“Evidence at the impact site indicates Gerleman waited near the railroad tracks for the Union Pacific train to approach. Gerleman and her son Henry can be seen on video crossing the tracks and as the train draws near, Gerleman returns to the center of the tracks and at the last moment pulls Henry into the path of the train,” the Iowa Public Safety Department said Tuesday, according to the news station.
The mother’s uncle, Randy Gerleman, told The Gazette that he hadn’t talked to his niece since 2006 but saw on Facebook that she was dealing with health issues. The uncle also claimed she previously abused drugs and had difficulty keeping a job.
According to KCCI, a Facebook page made in the pair’s memory stated that Teresa had recently moved to Belle Plaine and was dealing with family issues. The Des Moines Register reported that evidence found at the home suggested that she planned to take her own life.
Records obtained by The Gazette revealed that Teresa had a 2008 conviction for assaulting her child’s father and unsuccessfully applied twice for protective orders against him. Teresa also sought unemployment benefits in 2012 but was denied after a judge determined she had voluntarily quit her job despite her claims that she suffered from “panic and anxiety issues,” records stated.
Family members told KCCI that there will be no funeral for Gerleman.
“You want to commit suicide, go ahead,” the uncle said. “But you are a dirty, rotten, lowdown, no-good son-of-a-gun yanking your son onto a railroad track and murdering him, too.”
[Featured image: Teresa Gerleman, Henry Fields/Facebook]