Investigation underway after body found on railroad tracks

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Police say a railroad supervisor discovered a gruesome scene Monday in Louisville's Parkland neighborhood.

A mother of five was hit and killed by a train.

Her name has not been released, but friends say she was an immigrant from Somalia who died seeking a new life in Louisville.

Police say they don't know exactly when it happened, but the victim, a black female in her early thirties, was found on the tracks at around 11:30 Monday morning near the 2900 block of W. Greenwood Ave.

Shamonda McDonald was among the first on the scene.

“It was a horrific scene, and I don't ever, ever want to see something like that again,” McDonald told WDRB.

Police say the victim was hit by a Norfolk Southern train, and the engineer was apparently unaware of what happened.

“One of the railroad track supervisors located the body and contacted us. It was obvious that the train did not know what had happened here, and had already passed,” said LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell.

Police will not speculate as to why the victim was on the tracks.

“We do know she was hit, but exactly all that led up to that, we do not know,” said Mitchell.

Friends say she came to Louisville ten years ago from Somalia, and was a devoted wife and mother.

“I know the family for almost nine years, and they're a really good family. She has five kids, three daughters and two sons. She came from Somalia to live a better life in Louisville,” said family friend Farhad Abdi.

Abdi says the victim had been suffering from health problems, but has no idea why she might have been so close to a moving train.

McDonald says people often try to beat the train, and admits doing it herself - but not anymore.

“I think if you were out here seeing this, I think you would rather wait for train. Rather be safe than sorry. Seriously,” she said.

For now, friends say they'll pray and do what they can to support the family.

“It is terrible. I feel terrible - so sorry for the family. She was part of our community. We know her. We know the husband. It's different when you know the person,” said Abdi.

Police hope an autopsy will reveal some clues, as they try to unravel what happened and why. The LMPD Major Crimes Unit is investigating.

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