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9-Year-Old Boy Sole Survivor After Parents, 6-Year-Old Sister Shot To Death On Camping Trip

Tyler and Sarah Schmidt and their daughter Lula Schmidt were found shot to death inside their tent while on a camping trip. Their son, Arlo Schmidt, was found uninjured. The alleged shooter died via suicide.

By Gina Tron
Tyler Schmidt, left, and his wife Sarah pose with their son Arlo and daughter Lula

A 9-year-old boy is the sole survivor of a camping trip shooting that took the lives of the rest of his family.

The bodies of Tyler and Sarah Schmidt, both 42, and their daughter Lula Schmidt, 6, were discovered in the family's tent early Friday morning at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground in Iowa, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety. 

Arlo Schmidt, 9, had survived the attack. He “is safe,” according to a Friday Facebook post from Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green. 

Adam Morehouse, Sarah Schmidt's brother, told The Associated Press that he is not sure where his nephew was during the shootings.

“He is with family and he is OK, but I have not had any interaction with him,” he said. “As far as I know, he was uninjured physically.”

The suspect behind the shootings has also been found dead.

After finding the three bodies of the Schmidt family, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Division of Criminal Investigation discovered that another camper registered at the campground was unaccounted for. 

“Following a search of the area, officers found the deceased body of Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, west of the park,” the press release states. “Sherwin appears to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and there is no danger to the public.” 

A possible motive for the triple murder has not yet been determined.

“We don’t know what led up to this, what precipitated it,” Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety’s division of criminal investigation, told The Associated Press on Saturday, stating that so far “the investigation has not revealed any early interaction between the Schmidt family and him.”

Sherwin lived in La Vista, Nebraska with his parents. He had no criminal record.

A police handout of Anthony Sherwin

Sarah Schmidt worked at Cedar Falls Public Library and Tyler Schmidt was a software engineer. 

Green, who was also a neighbor to the family, stated that he is “devastated.”

“I knew Sarah well, and she & her family were regular walkers here in the Sartori Park neighborhood,” he wrote on Facebook. “I was working with her this week on a public library tech presentation for 7/26.”

The Cedar Falls community is mourning the slain members of the family. 

“They were such an amazing family, filling in each other’s highs, each other’s lows, and none of them had any question that they were loved, they all KNEW it,” friend Kate Flather told the Des Moines Register. “Arlo is probably the smartest kid in his grade, if not the school, and I am praying he can overcome this because he is truly destined for great things.”

The campsite is 120 miles away from where the family lived. 

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