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Community Mourns Sueppel Family

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IOWA CITY - The death of an entire family can truly scar a town. When Steven Sueppel killed his wife and four children, he left people with extreme emotions and a need for understanding. The first public tribute was small, only a handful of mourners and supporters showed.

The University of Iowa's Anti-War Committee regularly gathers at the campus Pentacrest to call for an end to violence. On Tuesday, they asked the Iowa City community to help pay tribute to the murder victims.
Organizer David Goodner says, "People need to talk through their emotions, and this is one way they can do so by lighting a candle, saying a prayer."

Media outlets actually outnumbered participants. Just a day after Iowa City received the news, those who knew the Sueppels say they expected something more.

Susan Goodner, who also attended the vigil, says, "Complete shock and inability to think at all and then just incredible sadness."

As university classes let out, students took notice of the display. Seeing this reaction, organizers hope their effort also grabbed the attention of the rest of the community. Other groups certainly followed suit. The flag at the Sueppel children's school was at half staff.

Rose Persaud, whose children go to school with the Sueppel children, says, "I would just give them my prayers and let them know that I'm thinking of them and that I hope that they find comfort and peace."
The businesses that bear the Sueppel name say calls of support have outweighed calls from clients this week. Outside the crime scene, a makeshift memorial now stands as a reminder of the family that once lived there.

Tom Baldridge, a family friend, says, "It's difficult to go to the house and be intrusive, and it's difficult to stay away. One wants to support and let them know that we do feel for them."

St. Mary's Catholic Church is also doing everything it can. TV9 spoke to Sister Agnes Giblin there, who taught Steven, the father, in third grade. She helped arrange their marriage at the church, spoke to the family at Easter mass this past Sunday, and will now help arrange their funeral there where she expects at least 700 people to attend.

Email Josh Hinkle at

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