The woman's grandmother revealed that she was depressed after recently losing her job.
Trigger warning: contains graphic details that may be distressing to some.
In the early hours of Monday, January 4, the Madison County Sheriff's Office received a number of calls, among which one of them informed the deputies of a large object falling from a bridge and striking a vehicle that was at Exit 93 on I-40 in Tennessee. When deputies arrived at the scene, they discovered that the large object was in fact the bodies of a mother and son, plunged to death from the overpass above.
Shortly after midnight, at around 12:30 am, dispatch received one of the first calls in connection with the incident, where they were informed of a woman trying to drive into a gas pump at a Shell station. Witnesses later informed authorities that the woman driving the vehicle then got out of the car and made her way towards the I-40 overpass.
According to New York Post, the disturbed mother seemed to have her mind set on ending her life that night, and intended to take her son with her.
26-year-old Tonisha Lashay Barker was clutching her 21-month-old toddler in her arms as she walked towards the overpass and ended two lives in one swift step.
"A few minutes later, Dispatch received another call from a truck driver stating that a large object fell from the bridge and struck his truck as he was traveling west bound on I-40 at the Exit 93 bridge," read a statement from the police, as quoted by People.
When police officers arrived at the scene, they found the bodies of Tonisha and that of her son, Johnathan Jones. To confirm the identities of the mother and son, a relative arrived at the scene where their bodies were located, as reported by WREG.
Tennessee mom leaps from overpass with baby, killing both https://t.co/qVbFHdYKBY no mention of the baby's father. That alone is depressing.— Mo (@bigboutya1) January 6, 2021
"It’s heartbreaking to have that situation this morning, especially when someone loses their life. It’s hard on everybody, especially the driver of the vehicle. It’s just a bad situation that we hate to ever receive," said Madison County Sheriff John Mehr, as reported by WBBJ TV.
Following the incident, Tonisha's grandmother revealed that the young mother worked at a COVID-19 testing site, but had lost her job and was struggling with depression ever since.
So far, investigators are yet to conclude the reason behind the murder-suicide. As investigations by the Madison County Sheriff's Office are still underway, deputies are calling it a sad start to the new year after losing a mother and child in this manner.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or head over to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.