Tyler Schmidt, his wife Sarah Schmidt, and their 6-year-old daughter Lula Schmidt were identified as the victims in a random attack at an Iowa State Park campground.
They were remembered in tributes as a “beautiful” family. Sarah Schmidt worked for the public library in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Anthony Sherwin was identified as the suspect accused of murdering three members of the Schmidt family to death at an Iowa State Park. They were found inside a tent.
According to the Des Moines Register, authorities don’t believe he had any prior relationship with the victims. The Register reported that the victims were shot.
The three victims of the triple homicide at Maquoketa Caves State Park were identified as: Tyler Schmidt, 42, Cedar Falls; Sarah Schmidt, 42, Cedar Falls; and Lula Schmidt, 6, Cedar Falls, the Iowa Department of Public Safety reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Mayor Wrote that Sarah Schmidt Worked for the Cedar Falls Public Library & Was a Regular Walker in the Neighborhood With Her Husband
Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green revealed on Facebook that the Schmidts’ son survived the attack. He also revealed that Sarah Schmidt worked for the public library.
This morning, while camping at Maquoketa Caves State Park, our neighbor and Cedar Falls Public Library employee Sarah Schmidt, along with her husband Tyler, and daughter Lula (age 6) lost their lives to a 23-year old gunman who then took his own life. Like many of you just hearing the news, I’m devastated. I knew Sarah well, and she & her family were regular walkers here in the Sartori Park neighborhood. I was working with her this week on a public library tech presentation for 7/26.
Their 9 year old son Arlo survived the attack, and is safe. I’ve notified neighbors, and for those of you just learning about this through this post, I am so sorry. Details will be forthcoming about services and other memorials, and I will ensure the community knows about this. Please offer some extra grace to the Schmidts’ many friends, neighbors, and coworkers as we try to process this horrible tragedy. The Cedar Falls Library will be closed tomorrow for the sake of the staff who loved and worked with Sarah.
2. Tyler Schmidt Worked as a Software Engineer
Tyler Schmidt wrote on Facebook that he studied for a master’s degree at the University of Kansas, studied computer science at Truman State University, and went to Northern University High School.
He wrote on LinkedIn that he was a “principal software engineer” and architect.
His few visible posts on Facebook are photos with his young son.
3. A GoFundMe Page Was Set Up to Help the Schmidts’ Surviving Son, Arlo
The Schmidts left behind a young son named Arlo. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help him.
“Arlo lost both of his parents, Sarah and Tyler Schmidt, and his 6-year-old sister, Lula, to a senseless act of violence during a family vacation at a state park in Iowa on July 22,” it reads.
“Arlo is a strong boy, surrounded by family and friends who are supporting him as best we can. Some of you have asked how you might help, so we (Sarah and Tyler’s siblings and me, her cousin) created this fund to allow anyone who would like to help Arlo. Funds will help Arlo now, and build some savings for his future education.”
4. The Victims Were Remembered as a ‘Beautiful Family’
Tributes flowed for the victims.
Jana Morehouse wrote on Facebook:
Today, my life has been shattered. My beautiful, smart, funny, curly haired sister, her husband, and their 6 year old daughter were victims of a random act of violence while camping as a family in Iowa. Their 9 year old son was able to survive and has a lifetime of trauma ahead. He has two sides of the family that love him very much.
Sarah, Tyler, and Lula were not political pawns. They were a family, on vacation, and had everything ahead of them. I cannot fathom that she will no longer be on the other side of the phone. I cannot fathom that I don’t get to see Lula grow up.
Please, pray for my family. Pray for the first responders. Pray for our culture and society. Services, and a Gofundme for my nephew and his future, will be coming shortly. I’m posting now because their names are being named public, and I want people to know that Sarah, and Tyler, and Lula meant everything to our family, and we don’t know how we are going to continue.
A woman who knew the victims wrote on Facebook:
Just before we moved Lula (not Lulu as some news outlets have been reporting) and Arlo were at my house for a play date….
A few evenings before that, I sat in our backyard (way past all of our bedtimes) with Sarah and a couple of other moms of third grade boys chatting and laughing, congratulating ourselves for making it through another school year, and making plans for all of them to come visit in Des Moines soon. In a way, I’m grateful that our move prompted me to say a few things I probably wouldn’t have said on a normal backyard hangout night to my friend who I met through the school PTA and grew to love through our chats in the school pickup line.
This is just such an unbelievable tragedy with a beautiful family at the center. Please keep Arlo and the Schmidts’ extended family in your prayers.
5. Sherwin Shot Himself After Murdering the Three Victims in a Campground, Authorities Say
At about 6:23 a.m. on the morning of July 22, 2022, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and DCI “were notified of a triple homicide at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground,” the Iowa Department of Public Safety news release said.
“The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner will conduct autopsies of all three victims. Once completed, the findings will be released. Additionally, the State Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy on suspect Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23,” the statement read.
“Officers located three deceased bodies. Officers later found that a camper was unaccounted for. Following a search of the area, officers found the deceased body of Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, west of the park. Sherwin appears to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and there is no danger to the public,” the release says.
“At this time, the Maquoketa Caves State Park is an active crime scene and is closed until further notice,” authorities wrote.
The three victims were discovered inside a tent, according to the Des Moines Register.
The motive is not clear. The suspect was from Nebraska.