Two baseball bats – that’s what Steven Sueppel used to bludgeon his wife and four adopted children to death in their Iowa City home in 2008. But, according to a note Sueppel wrote prior to annihilating his family, baseball bats weren’t his first choice.
Less than 24 hours after the family of six attended Easter mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Steven Sueppel coerced his children into their family van and attempted to kill them and himself via carbon monoxide poisoning. When the endeavor proved unsuccessful, Sueppel led the children – Ethan (age 10), Seth (age 7), Mira (age 5), and Eleanor (age 3) – back into the home where he brutally attacked them with the bats. The bodies of the three older children were found in their respective bedrooms; Eleanor had been beaten to death in the playroom. Based on a timeline constructed from various voicemails left by Sueppel to his father, brother, and coworkers, Sueppel’s wife, Sheryl, was already deceased by the time the prolicide took place.
Immediately after the murders, Sueppel left multiple voicemails on his home answering machine, one of which detailed how he’d tried to drown himself in the Iowa River at Lower City Park but failed because he “kept floating.” Sueppel then called 9-1-1 and directed them to his home, got in his car, and eventually drove at high speed into a concrete pillar. The car erupted in flames. Sueppel did not survive.
Following a controversial funeral held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church (many opposed the church’s decision to include Steven Sueppel in the memorial), Sueppel’s former employer Hills Bank and Trust Company demanded payment from his estate. A month before the familicide took place, Steven Sueppel had been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of embezzlement and money laundering in connection with $559,040.