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Anamosa copes with grief after inmate attack kills two penitentiary staff members

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 8:41 PM CDT
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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) - Anamosa is still coping with the death of two prison staffers at the State Penitentiary. Investigators said two inmates killed them on Tuesday while they were trying to escape.

Those staffers were identified as Robert McFarland and Lorena Schulte. Robert McFarland, 46, was a correctional officer and volunteer Firefighter with the Ely Fire Department. 50-year-old Lorena Schulte worked at the penitentiary as a registered nurse since 2007.

Randy Gile, who used to work at the Anamosa State Penitentiary as a correctional officer, said he knew both to be great people.

“Both of them were real peaches, just sweet and kind,” he said. “You know, it’s hard to imagine you wake up one day and this happens and they’re gone and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.”

He said both, McFarland and Schulte, would go out of their way for somebody else. Although he said he was much closer with McFarland.

“It was nice working with him,” he said. “He was a good guy, he’d do anything for you.”

The prison is the largest employer in Jones county and it’s hard to find anyone in Anamosa without connections to somebody who works here. Jeff Swisher, who lived in Anamosa for his entire life, said the prison is a bedrock of the community.

He said his son and dad worked there at separate times. And this has been a difficult time for the town.

“The community has a lot of sorrow,” he said. “A lot of people trying to stick together and offer support for the Penitentiary employees, as you can see out front all the flowers and with the memorials. Just trying to stick together.”

Swisher said there are also plans to create a memorial run/walk for the victims sometime next week.

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