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State of Iowa: Family killed in Maquoketa Caves State Park shot, strangled and stabbed

Posted at 10:01 AM, Aug 04, 2022

ANKENY, Iowa — The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced Thursday the results of autopsies on three members of the Schmidt family, as well as the man authorities believe was the shooter.

Tyler and Sarah Schmidt, both 42-year-old and their 6-year-old daughter, Lula, were killed while camping at Maquoketa Caves State Park in Iowa. Their nine-year-old son survived. Law enforcement suspects that Anthony Sherwin, 23, of La Vista was responsible for their deaths. Sherwin was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


On July 22, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Division of Criminal Investigation were notified of a triple homicide at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground. Officers located three deceased victims, as well as the body of a man investigators believe was responsible for their deaths. The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner has determined the cause and manner of death of all four people.

Tyler Schmidt, age 42, died from a gunshot wound and multiple sharp force injuries. Sarah Schmidt, age 42, died from multiple sharp force injuries. Lula Schmidt, age 6, died from a gunshot wound and strangulation. All three family members’ deaths have been ruled homicides.

Anthony Sherwin, age 23, of LaVista, Nebraska, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His death has been ruled a suicide.

The investigation into the events surrounding the homicides is ongoing. However, the known facts and circumstances, and all evidence collected to this point, substantiate Sherwin was the perpetrator of the homicides and acted alone.

No further information will be released at this time.

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