An incident earlier this month with a train in the eastern Iowa town of Belle Plaine, which killed a woman and her son, has been ruled a murder-suicide.

Iowa DCI Agent Richard Rahn investigated the case. “We were able to find some evidence at her residence that led us to believe that she had the intent to commit suicide,” Rahn said. Thirty-six-year-old Teresa Gerleman and her eight-year-old son, Henry Fields, died when they were hit by a Union Pacific train early on the morning of May 4.

Rahn reviewed video footage from the train. It shows Gerleman stepping in front of the train and then pulling her son onto the tracks. “These things are always hard to process, hard to understand why people do some of the things that they do,” Rahn said. “I can tell you that it was also difficult for the employees of Union Pacific.” While the evidence gathered makes it clear Gerleman wanted to take her own life, Rahn said it may never be known why she chose to kill her son as well.

“We don’t know conclusively. We have some speculation, theories, and thoughts…but we don’t always know why and we don’t always get those answers,” Rahn said.