Woman with reported info on kidnap, murder of young Iowa girls kills herself and son

An Iowa woman who killed herself and her young son in May reportedly had information about the disappearance of two girls years earlier, the Des Moines Register reports.

Teresa Catherine Gerleman, 36, pulled herself and her 8-year-old son, Henry Fields, in front of a train last month. But before doing that, she claimed to have information about what happened to two cousins who were kidnapped and murdered in July 2012.

The bodies of the girls, 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins, were located months later, but no one has been arrested yet in connection with the crime.

The newspaper reports that investigators searched the woman’s home for any evidence linked to the killings; police took cellphones, handwritten notes, sealed envelopes and notebooks from her residence, court records show. Investigators examined Gerleman’s claims but determined that the information produced “negative results,” according to Mike Krapfl, special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Police also looked into the woman’s mental condition and found that she received assistance from a nonprofit organization that serves disabled clients, according to The Gazette. An employee of the organization told investigators that Gerleman had a letter she asserted was “written by guys she used to hang around with that admitted” to the kidnap and killing of the two girls.

Krapfl said police did locate the letter but that it contained “old information,” and that given Gerleman’s mental condition, no viable leads came from the document. The disappearance of the two girls prompted a wide-ranging investigation that has involved thousands of people and searches in multiple counties.

“We continue to execute search warrants when probable cause presents itself,” Krapfl said.

Elizabeth Collins’ father, Drew Collins, said he didn’t know about the search of Gerleman’s home and would like to wait and see what happens before getting his hopes up. The employee of the disability agency who tipped off police about the letter said Gerleman reported that her medication made her “feel like standing in front of a train” months before she killed herself and her son.

Video of the horrific murder-suicide shows that after Gerleman and the boy crossed the tracks, she went back onto the tracks and pulled her son into the path of the oncoming Union Pacific Railroad train.

They died at the scene.

Counselors have been made available to the train’s engineer and conductor, a railroad spokesperson said.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, support can be found from the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.

[Feature Photo: Teresa Gerleman/Facebook]