"It's hard not to cry right now. I hope everybody gets a good night's sleep. We need it." So wrote Rob Green, the mayor of Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Facebook Saturday night in the wake of a triple murder at Maquoketa Caves State Park. Cedar Falls' Tyler Schmidt, 42; Sarah Schmidt, 42; and Lula Schmidt, 6; were found dead in their tent Friday morning in what is believed to be a random attack. The latest in the case:
- The discovery and aftermath. The Des Moines Register reports a 911 call was placed at 6:23am Friday. The park was evacuated, and a rep with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says that one registered camper was unaccounted for: the suspected shooter, Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23. A search via aircraft subsequently found Sherwin's body "some distance from the campsite but still in the park."
- More on Sherwin. The La Vista, Nebraska, resident was camping with his parents, whom he lived with. "Why would he throw everything away when he was looking forward to going home? It makes no sense," mom Cecilia Sherwin told the Register, which found no criminal record for Sherwin.
- The surviving child. Arlo Schmidt, 9, was camping with his parents and sister and survived the attack. A GoFundMe campaign to establish a trust in his name has exceeded its $100,000 goal, with nearly $180,000 raised as of this writing.
- A witness' recollection. Felicia Coe tells KCCI she was camping at the park and went to look for a member of her party after park rangers told her to exit the park. She says she then spotted Arlo. "He's just standing there. Just calm and you know, nothing out of the ordinary. Other than he had one shoe on and was in his pajamas, but not being held or comforted, or, you know, showing any emotion. I just can’t imagine," Coe said.
- The victims. Tyler Schmidt worked as a software engineer and Sarah Schmidt was employed by the Cedar Falls library. CNN flags another post by Green, who wrote in part, "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." Green is being called "inspirational" for his candid comments about the public's grief in the wake of the tragedy.
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