March 23rd, 2008
Murder-suicide. Familicide. Steven Sueppel, 42, murdered his wife, Sheryl Sueppel, and their four adopted children from South Korea, Ethan, 10, Seth, 8, Mira, 6, and Eleanor, 3. Sueppel, a former executive of Hills Bank and Trust Company, had recently been charged with embezzlement. He had pleaded not guilty to embezzlement and money laundering on February 20, 2008. The night of March 23rd, Steven Sueppel murdered his wife at some time before 11:30pm. He then bludgeoned the children with a baseball bat after failing in his attempt to asphyxiate them by gathering them with him in the family van in the garage while its engine ran. He then drove to a nearby park, where he attempted to drown himself in a river, but failed. Shortly after, Sueppel took his own life by driving his van into the concrete base of a sign about 9 miles east of Iowa City on Interstate Highway 80. Sueppel's suicide note and voice messages from that night indicated that he was despondent and profoundly sorry about his embezzlement of $560,000 from Hills Bank and Trust between July 2000 and September 2007. He suggests that he and his family would be better off dead.