Nation

Couple’s death on tracks ruled murder-suicide

ONEIDA, N.Y. — The death of a New York couple who stood together in front of a freight train was ruled a murder-suicide Wednesday, but investigators cannot say why or when Earl Myatt Jr. decided to drive his beloved wife of 42 years to the railroad crossing.

Relatives have said Myatt became despondent after his wife, Mary, suffered an aneurism that left her with the mental capacity of a toddler.

Troopers said Earl Myatt called one of his sons and apologized two minutes before stepping with his wife onto tracks in the path of an oncoming freight train on Sunday. Police said a railroad video showed them waiting on the tracks before they were hit and killed. A suicide note was found in Myatt’s car.

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‘‘We’re devastated,’’ Brad Myatt, one of their sons, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. ‘‘But I want everyone to know that my father was a good man, and my mother was an angel who would do anything for anybody.’’

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Trooper Jack Keller said the determination that Earl Myatt was responsible for the deaths came after interviews with family, physicians, and others.

‘‘All the evidence has shown it was the husband’s decision, the way the note was written and the call was received by the son,’’ Keller said. ‘‘We’re not sure whether his wife knew what his plans were and how much involvement she had.’’

ASSOCIATED PRESS