Three members of a family who were camping in an Iowa state park were killed last month but police this week released how they died, saying that they were shot, stabbed and strangled.
Tyler Schmidt, 42, had a gunshot wound among multiple stabbing injuries, The Associated Press reported.
His wife, Sarah Schmidt, 42, also had several stab wounds that killed her.
The couple’s daughter, Lula Schmidt, 6, died from a gunshot wound and was also strangled.
They were all found in their tent and their deaths have been ruled homicides, The Des Moines Register reported.
The couple’s 9-year-old son, who was not identified, survived and had no physical injuries. Police have not said if he was in the tent with his family when they died.
The man accused of killing the family also killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Anthony Sherwin, 23, was camping with his parents at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground, police said.
Officials said the shootings were committed using an untraceable, homemade gun called a ghost gun, the Register reported.
Sherwin’s parents told the newspaper that their son built his own firearm because they didn’t want him to buy one, but said that building one made sense because of increasing crime in Nebraska.
“He only had an interest in guns for a few months before he grew tired of it. By the time we took our trip he told us he was going to get rid of them. We were relieved as we never owned a gun of any kind before this year. We only had one in the car on the trip. He didn’t have a fascination as much as it was a challenge to build it,” Sherwin’s mother, Cecilia Sherwin told the newspaper in an email.
“He did not want to bring the gun on the trip but we thought it would be OK considering crime and bears,” she told the paper. She said a bear did come into their camp at least once during their trip.
But despite police saying that Anthony Sherwin killed himself with the weapon, Cecilia Sherwin believes that he was murdered.
“He had too much to live for to throw it all away like this,” she told the Register.
She claimed her son was working on a computer system that was “worth millions” and that he and his parents would have been able to retire early. She did not disclose what system it was but said her son needed “tight security” because of it, the Register reported.
Police have not released a motive, but said they believe what led to the killings, the AP reported. They don’t plan to release the information.
Police also did not say what was used to stab the family, the Register reported.
©2022 Cox Media Group