Per the coroner’s report that was released on Thursday, three close relatives who were brutally murdered following what was described as a potentially “random” triple homicide attack were gunned down, stabbed, and/or strangled to death. The horrible act was perpetrated by an individual who was not associated with any of the victims at an Iowa county park last month.
UPDATE: The Office of the State Medical Examiner has released the cause and manner of deaths in our ongoing investigation of the Maquoketa Caves State Park triple homicide: https://t.co/pLEeOwdAHX pic.twitter.com/JhEC1pOHH1— Iowa Department of Public Safety (@IowaDPS) August 4, 2022
According to a news release issued by the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Tyler Schmidt, age 42, passed away from a bullet wound in addition to “multiple sharp force injuries,” while his wife, Sarah Schmidt, age 42, also passed away from multiple sharp force injuries. Both of their deaths occurred in the same incident. According to the authorities, their daughter Lula Schmidt, who was just 6 years old, passed away as a result of a gunshot wound and being strangled.
The bodies of the Schmidts were found on July 22 within a tent at the Maquoketa Caves County Park Campground, which is roughly 180 miles east of Des Moines. The campground is located in Maquoketa Caves State Park. Authorities have not revealed whether or not the family’s son, who was nine years old and camping with them at the time of the incident, suffered any physical injuries as a result of the attack; nevertheless, they have not ruled out the possibility that he was in the tent at the time of the incident.
Anthony Sherwin, 23, of LaVista, Nebraska, was identified as the murderer by the department on Thursday. Sherwin committed suicide by shooting himself after carrying out the assault on the family in the early hours of July 22 in their camp at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campsite. According to the authorities and Sherwin’s mother, the attack occurred while Sherwin and his family were camping in the park.
All of the information that has been gathered, according to the investigators, supports the idea that Sherwin worked alone. However, the police have not disclosed any possible motives for the killings. Last month, Mitch Mortvedt, associate director of the department of criminal investigation for the Department of Public Safety, revealed to The Associated Press that the preliminary inquiry “had not revealed any early interaction between the Schmidt family and him.” According to the report, he stated that “we do not know what led up to this, what precipitated it.“
Sarah Schmidt’s brother, Adam Morehouse, stated to the media source that his family did not know Sherwin and that he believed the incident was “completely random.” Sherwin’s body was discovered by law enforcement officers who were searching the park in the aftermath of the shooting. The body was located away from the campground but still within the park’s patch of woods.
Cecilia Sherwin, Sherwin’s mom, expressed her devastation to The Associated Press in the days following the shooting, stating that she and her husband were heartbroken by the offense on the Schmidts and by the loss of their son, whom she characterized as being kind, delicate, an outstanding student, and an ambitious young businessman.