‘Two wonderful people had their lives taken’; Victims of Anamosa prison attack remembered by friends, coworkers

The Iowa DCI says what started out as an escape attempt ended with two prison employees losing their lives.
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Flags across Iowa are flying at half staff for Lorena Schulte and Robert McFarland, the two people killed on Tuesday from an inmate attack at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

“Two wonderful people had their lives taken while simply trying to do their jobs,” said Beth Skinner, the director of the Iowa State Department of Corrections. “One, a nurse whose main mission was to help care for and heal the sick. One, an officer whose main mission was to help keep this facility safe in order for men here to have a safe and rehabilitative environment.”

Robert McFarland, 46, left, and Lorena Schulte, 50, right, two employees killed at the Anamosa...
Robert McFarland, 46, left, and Lorena Schulte, 50, right, two employees killed at the Anamosa State Penitentiary on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.(Courtesy Photos)

‘He was a hero’

Robert McFarland served as a correctional officer at the Anamosa facility since October of 2008.

The 46-year-old husband and father is remembered for doing the job he’s wanted to do since childhood as a volunteer firefighter.

Ely Fire Chief Aaron Cooper said McFarland started with his department in 2017. He described McFarland as selfless and always helping out in his free time at the fire station.

Before his time in Ely, he served as a volunteer firefighter in Oelwein and Brandon.

Cooper described McFarland as a hero.

‘A kind soul’

Since 2007, Lorena Schulte worked at the penitentiary as a registered nurse.

Friends remember the 50-year-old as quiet but strong.

According to her Facebook page, Schulte graduated from Regis High School in Cedar Rapids in 1988 and went to Kirkwood Community College. She had previously worked at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Dustin Ruzicka, who called himself a longtime friend of Schulte, said he knew her from a karate program when they were kids.

He said she was sweet and a nice human being.

“She kept to herself but was a kind soul,” Ruzicka said.

He added, “she was a badass.”

Memorial services for McFarland and Schulte are pending.

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