Three family members killed in a possibly “random” triple murder-suicide attack by an unrelated man at an Iowa state park last month were shot, stabbed and/or strangled, according to autopsy results released Thursday.
Tyler Schmidt, 42, died of a gunshot wound and “multiple blunt force injuries,” while his wife, Sarah Schmidt, 42, died of multiple blunt force injuries, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a news release. His 6-year-old daughter, Lula Schmidt, died of a gunshot wound and strangulation, authorities said.
Schmidt’s body was found July 22 in a tent at Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground, about 180 miles east of Des Moines. Their 9-year-old son, who was on a camping trip with his family, survived the attack without physical injury, but investigators did not say whether he was in the tent when the attack occurred.
The department confirmed Thursday that the killer was Anthony Sherwin, 23, of La Vista, Nebraska, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound early July 22 after an attack on his family in their tent at Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground. . Sherwin was camping at the park with his parents at the time of the attack, according to police and Sherwin’s mother.
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Investigators said they have gathered evidence that Sherwin acted alone, but police have not determined a motive behind the killing. No further information will be released Thursday, the release said.
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Mitch Mortwade, assistant director of the Criminal Investigation Division’s public safety division, told The Associated Press last month that the initial investigation “did not reveal any initial communication between the Schmidt family and him.”
“We don’t know what caused it, what caused it,” he said.
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Adam Morehouse, Sarah Schmidt’s brother, told the news outlet that the family has no connection to Sherwin and believes it was a “totally random act.”
Police who entered the park in the wake of the shooting found Sherwin’s body outside the campground but in the park’s woods.
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Sherwin’s mother, Cecilia Sherwin, told The Associated Press in the days after the shooting that she and her husband were devastated by the attack on Schmidt and the loss of their son, whom she described as kind, sensitive, an exceptional student and ambitious. Merchant
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis, please get in touch Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988 above.