Man Kills Son, 6, Wife and Ex in Murder-Suicide: ‘I Had a Perfect Life, and Now It’s All Screwed Up’

On Monday night, a 39-year-old New York City man committed suicide shortly after fatally shooting his wife, ex-wife and 6-year-old son, and NYPD sources confirm to PEOPLE a bitter custody battle may have been behind the violence.

At about 9 p.m., police were summoned to the Astoria, Queens, apartment of James Shields after neighbors heard several gunshots.

Inside the apartment, police found Shields dead from a pair of self-inflicted injuries: NYPD sources say he cut his own throat and shot himself.

Deeper into the apartment, they found the bodies of his wife, 38-year-old Saskia Shields, his ex-wife, 47-year-old Linda Olthof, and their son, James Jr.

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All were shot to death, sources confirm.

A note was found at the scene, according to sources.

The sources confirm the note read, “I had a perfect life, and now it’s all screwed up.”

Olthof and James Jr. were visiting Shields from the Netherlands, where they were living, the sources say.

Shields had set up a GoFundMe page in his efforts to spend time with his son, but the page has since been taken down.

“My beautiful son is 6 years old and my ex wife lives in the Netherlands. We were married and because she couldn’t find work as an artist ran back home to Holland after she was pregnant with my son devastating me,” the page read.

No one donated to Shields’ cause.


PEOPLE.com

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Parents of Alleged Rape Victim Sue U. Alabama After She Kills Herself: ‘Tragic Yet Preventable Situation’

Megan Rondini was a 20-year-old premed student at the University of Alabama in July 2015 when her life changed.

That’s when Rondini, a junior, told friends that she had met a man at a popular bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. At some point in the evening, she alleged she was sexually assaulted at his home, possibly after being drugged.

According to her parents, Rondini went into a downward spiral after the alleged assault. They say she suffered depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. She withdrew from the University and returned home to Texas. In February 2016, she hanged herself.

Now Rondini’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several people who they say failed her daughter. In the lawsuit, obtained by PEOPLE, Michael and Cynthia Rondini are suing their daughter’s alleged rapist, two university employees, the Tuscaloosa County sheriff, a sheriff’s deputy, and a sheriff’s office investigator.

The complaint alleges that the university did not give Rondini adequate psychological treatment and support after the incident. The suit says that specific University employees “deliberately and repeatedly denied services and mishandled accommodations with hostility.”

The suit also claims that the sheriff’s office inadequately pursued the investigation, and were sympathetic towards the alleged rapist rather than their daughter. The suit also claims that authorities focused on some of Rondini’s actions, including taking a handgun and cab fare from her alleged attacker’s home.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter. 

The Rondini’s attorney, Leroy Maxwell Jr., did not return PEOPLE’s call for comment, but told AL.com that the family hopes this lawsuit will prevent other families from going through the same thing. “The Rondini family is not in this for the money, they are only interested in shining a bright light on a tragic yet preventable situation,” Maxwell said in a statement. “The court will determine if this case rises to the level of punitive damages.”

Meanwhile, several entities are working together to strengthen their support of sex assault victims. The university is partnering with the nearby hospital, the District Attorney’s office and law enforcement to establish two victim advocacy programs to care for sexual assault victims. The organizations also said in a statement that they are retraining their staffs.

The University of Alabama has defended its actions. “When Megan went to the hospital, a university advocate met her at the hospital to provide support and stayed with her throughout the examination process,” the school said in a statement. “Megan also received information from university representatives regarding services available to her on campus, including counseling through the university’s Women & Gender Resource Center.”

The alleged attacker has not been charged with any crime. He and his lawyer did not return PEOPLE’s calls for comment.


PEOPLE.com

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