Authorities now say an eastern Nebraska woman killed her young son, then herself, last month in a southwest Iowa park. The bodies of 41-year-old Charlotte Schilling of Plattsmouth and her ten-year-old son, Owen, were found May 10th at Lake Manawa.

Council Bluffs police Sergeant Chad Meyers says the autopsy results show both died of strangulation. “We’re investigating their death as a murder-suicide,” Sergeant Meyers says. “The autopsy revealed that they died from ligature strangulation and that was caused by the use of a zip tie.”

Meyers says the investigation also found that not that long ago Charlotte Schilling tried to take her own life by using a zip tie. “November of 2011, Charlotte attempted suicide by the same method,” he says. “She lost consciousness but fortunately a family member intervened and was able to cut the tie from her neck.”

It’s still unclear why the woman took her son’s life and Meyers says she was showing suicidal tendencies. “Irrational people do irrational things,” he says. “Obviously, her thought process wasn’t normal. We interviewed several of her family and friends and associates. She displayed behavior preceding the death that was consistent of somebody contemplating suicide.”

Investigators say Charlotte Schilling picked Owen up from his Bellevue, Nebraska, school early on May 10th. Both were reported missing on May 11th. Her vehicle was found parked at Lake Manawa on the 11th.

Both bodies were found in a wooded area about 200 feet from a remote walking trail on May 20th. Funerals for both Schillings were held last week.

By Karla James