Authorities: Mother pulled 8-year-old son in front of train in apparent murder-suicide

Authorities: Mother pulled 8-year-old son in front of train in apparent murder-suicide

News Staff

Authorities say a woman and boy whose bodies were found at a railroad crossing in eastern Iowa died in a murder-suicide.

The incident happened May 4. Teresa Gerleman, 35, and her 8-year-old son, Henry Fields, were found by police sent to a Belle Plaine crossing around 5 a.m. Friday.

The Iowa Public Safety Department said a security video recorded early on May 4 shows Gerleman and her son waiting near the tracks and crossing them. It shows her returning to the center of the crossing and, at the last moment, pulling the boy to her.

The conclusion is Gerleman committed suicide and pulled her son into the path of the train, thus killing him as well.

“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.”

Union Pacific Railroad employees cooperated with the investigation.

Ruth Ann Stratto, who lived across the street from Gerleman, said she still gets choked up thinking of the 35-year-old and her 8-year-old.

Stratto said Gerleman and her son died a few blocks north of their neighborhood.

“I heard the train just squeal their brakes,” Stratto said.

Friends of Gerleman created a Facebook page entitled, “In Loving Memory Of Teresa Gerleman & Henry Fields” as a tribute.

According to the Facebook page, Gerleman was dealing with family issues and had just recently moved to Belle Plaine.

“I think it’s very tragic,” Stratto said. “I’ve got grandchildren (and) great grandchildren. My heart goes out to that little boy.”

Just a week before Gerleman and her son died another man threw himself in front of a train on the same crossing.

Friends said that Gerleman and the man were connected, but authorities could not confirm the claim.

Family members said that there will be no funeral for Gerleman.