Investigators release info in Iowa City slayings

Date: 2008-03-30

The Associated Press

IOWA CITY -- Two baseball bats, bloody clothes and a skull fragment were among the items taken from a home where a woman and her children were beaten to death, police documents say.

Search warrants released by authorities in Iowa City Friday revealed more details about the investigation into the death of Sheryl Sueppel and her four children at their home on Iowa City's east side.

Police say Steven Sueppel, 42, killed his family before crashing the family's minivan into a concrete pillar on Interstate 80, killing himself.

Search warrant documents itemized materials taken by investigators from the Sueppel home, the minivan and other locations.

Police obtained a search warrant to retrieve voice messages Steven Sueppel left at Hills Bank & Trust, where he once worked as a vice president before leaving under suspicion he embezzled more than $500,000.

Police also received a search warrant to gain access to Sueppel's dental records. Since his body was burned in the van crash, investigators relied on dental records to identify him as the van driver.

Police believe Sueppel killed his wife in her bed sometime Easter Sunday night or early the next day. He then killed the children before killing himself.

Sheryl Sueppel and her children, Ethan, 10, Seth, 8, Mira, 5, and Eleanor, 3, died from blunt force trauma to the head and torso, according to autopsy reports.

According to the search warrant from the house, investigators found several items that appeared to have blood on them, including a pair of white socks in the garage, a T-shirt found in one of the bedrooms and bedding. Police also seized a four-page letter described as a "goodbye note," the family's computer, photographs, a camcorder and Sheryl Sueppel's wallet containing her identification.

Police reported finding blood on all but two of the victims in the home.

Police also took two baseball bats, one black and one blue, from the home. Police have indicated Sueppel might have used a baseball bat to kill his family.

Police seized a gold band, three wristwatches, some keys and other personal effects from Sueppel's van.

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