Medical Examiner: 2 Zimmerman Children Drowned, Mother's Death a Suicide

Posted at: 04/02/2013 9:53 AM
Updated at: 04/02/2013 6:55 PM
By: Scott Theisen

Investigators released new details Tuesday in the deaths of a Zimmerman woman and her two children.

According to the medical examiner's provisional report, 35-year-old Stephanie Shields' death was ruled a probable suicide pending further investigation and toxicology reports.

The deaths of Stephanie Shields' 6-year-old daughter, Josephine, and 7-year-old son, Nolan, were ruled homicides due to freshwater drowning.

Mark Shields moved out of the home within the last week, according to Sheriff Joel Brott.

Mark Shields is Stephanie Shields' husband, and Josephine and Nolan's father.

He is a member of the Minnesota National Guard, according to Army Maj. Kristen Auge, spokeswoman for the state's National Guard.

According to military records, Mark Shields has served with the National Guard since December 1989, Auge said in a statement. He's currently a full-time readiness, noncommissioned officer for the 850th Horizontal Engineer Company. He was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2004 to November 2005.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time," Auge said.

Stephanie Shields worked in human resources at Fairview Health Services.

Fairview Health Services released a statement, "We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Shields family for their tremendous loss."

Zimmerman, a city of about 5,000 people, is about 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Additional details will be released as they become available, according to the sheriff's office.

A memorial fund has been set up at Bremer Bank in Zimmerman under Mark Shields' name to help him with funeral costs.

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