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Crime News

Mother Whose Job At COVID Testing Site Reportedly Ended Last Month Jumps From Highway Overpass With Young Son In Her Arms

Tonisha Barker, 26, and her 21-month-old son fell to their deaths along a Tennessee interstate.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
7 Facts About Child Abuse and Prevention

A Tennessee woman and and her small child are dead after she jumped from a highway overpass with him cradled in her arms.

Deputies with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office received reports early Monday that a woman tried to crash her car into a gas pump at a Shell gas station near Interstate 40, the Madison County Sheriff's Office told Oxygen.com. Witnesses on the scene told authorities that the female driver had then gotten out of her car while holding a small child in her arms and walked to a nearby overpass before disappearing; around the same time, a driver called authorities to report that a “large object” had fallen off of the overpass and onto his truck.

Upon their arrival at the scene, deputies found the bodies of 26-year-old Memphis resident Tonisha Lashay Barker and her 21-month-old son, Johnathan Jones, WREG reports. The identity of the child was confirmed by unnamed relatives.

Barker’s motive for ending her own life haven't been confirmed, but her grandmother said she'd been depressed after her job at a COVID-19 testing site had ended last month, WREG reports. 

Investigators with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office have said the tragic incident is still under investigation, according to WBBJ.

“It’s heartbreaking to have that situation this morning, especially when someone loses their life,” Madison County Sheriff John Mehr told the outlet. “It’s hard on everybody, especially the driver of the vehicle. It’s just a bad situation that we hate to ever receive.”

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Oxygen.com.