The Schmidt family life celebration is held at Cedar Falls – Des Moines Register | Gmx Pharm

CEDAR FALLS — Friends and neighbors gathered Tuesday night to pay tribute to three victims of July’s unsolved murders at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

Tyler Schmidt, Sara Schmidt, both 42, and their daughter Lula, 6, were shot dead on July 22 while on a camping trip. Their 9-year-old son Arlo was at the campsite but survived the incident.

“Tonight we will weep for this devastating loss, but we will also smile and laugh,” said Rob Green, Mayor of Cedar Falls and a friend of the couple.

Green and other friends shared their own thoughts and read reflections from dozens of others to a crowd of nearly 200 gathered on the lawn of Overman Park in the warm August air.

More:What we know about the Maquoketa Caves State Park shooting in Iowa

“Tyler and Sarah were the kindest, gentlest, most thoughtful people, and they both had a sense of humor that surprised you,” Monica Iliff read from a written reflection from another friend.

Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green hugs Jana and Karen Moorehouse, sisters of Sarah Schmidt, during a celebration of life ministry Tuesday, August 2, 2022 for Tyler and Sarah Schmidt and their 6-year-old daughter Lula, who was killed were on a shoot at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

More:Family calls victims at Maquoketa Caves who shot ‘typical Midwestern family of four’; no motive identified

The stories went from everyone to one of Sarah’s grad school advisors to one of Lula’s 6-year-old classmates.

A particularly powerful moment came when Green read a letter from the staff at Lincoln Elementary School — where Lula and Arlo had both been students.

Parishioners gather Tuesday, August 2, 2022 during a celebration of life ministry for Tyler and Sarah Schmidt and their 6-year-old daughter Lula, who were killed in a shooting at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

“Our school is a better place because of your dedication and support,” Green read. “Thank you for your children’s extraordinary gift.”

A section of the letter was addressed directly to the sole surviving family member.

“Arlo, you are a brave and intelligent boy. Team Lincoln will always be there for you. We love you,” Green read.

More:Opinion: Filming in Maquoketa Caves Park means my quiet, rural world nearby has changed

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