Family shot, stabbed, strangled in Iowa Park, autopsy findings
Three family members killed in a shooting at an east Iowa state park last month were shot, stabbed and/or strangled, according to autopsy results released today.
Tyler Schmidt, 42, died from a gunshot wound and “multiple sharp force injuries,” while his wife, 42-year-old Sarah Schmidt, died from multiple sharp force injuries, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a news release. Their 6-year-old daughter, Lula Schmidt, died from a gunshot wound and strangulation, officials said.
The deaths of all three family members were ruled a homicide. The Schmidts’ 9-year-old son, who was on the camping trip with his family, survived the attack without physical injury, but investigators have not said if he was inside the tent at the time of the attack.
The department confirmed today that the killer was Anthony Sherwin, 23, of LaVista, Nebraska, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the family was attacked in their tent at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground early in the morning July 22 had been. According to police and Sherwin’s mother, Sherwin was at the park’s campsite with his parents at the time of the attack.
Investigators said all the evidence they gathered shows Sherwin acted alone, but police have not given a motive for the killings. The press release said no further information would be released today. Mitch Mortvedt, deputy director of the Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigations Division, did not immediately respond for comment.
Police who flooded the park about 180 miles east of Des Moines after the shooting found Sherwin’s body outside of the campground but in a wooded area of the park.
Sherwin’s mother, Cecilia Sherwin, told The Associated Press in the days after the shooting that the attack on the Schmidts and the loss of their son, whom she described as kind, sensitive, an exceptional student and an aspiring devastated were businessman.
Cecilia Sherwin said in an email to the AP on Sunday that her family recently made the decision to become a gun owner after previously committing a string of crimes and riots while camping.
“Neither myself nor my husband nor Anthony had any experience with handguns prior to this year,” she said. “We took classes and joined a line. Anthony was very responsible and showed no interest in hurting anyone and has never harmed an animal in his life.”
A memorial service celebrating the lives of the Schmidts was held Tuesday in their hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, attended by about 200 people.
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