Shields death preliminarily ruled a probable suicide; children’s deaths ruled homicide

Stephanie Shields’ death has been preliminarily ruled a probable suicide pending further investigation and toxicology reports, according to Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott.

Brott made that announcement about the 35-year-old Zimmerman woman after receiving a Ramsey County medical examiner’s provisional report.

The neighborhood scene on Monday while autopsies were being performed.
The neighborhood scene on Monday while autopsies were being performed.

Shields and her two children were found dead in their home on March 31. Both Nolan and Josephine Shields’ deaths have been ruled homicides due to freshwater drowning, Brott reported.

Though the investigation is ongoing, the Sheriff’s Office wants to assure the community that there is no threat to the public in relation to this case, Brott stated in a news release.

The Sheriff’s Office will withhold further comment until the results of toxicology testing, lab results, and electronic communication records are received and examined.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to the family’s home at 13309 5th Ave. South in the city of Zimmerman at 10:03 a.m. on Easter Sunday. A neighbor of the Shields family had phoned 911 after discovering 3 unresponsive bodies in the home. Deputies arrived and confirmed that all 3 of the individuals were deceased.

Stephanie Shields, 35, and her children, Nolan Shields, 7, and Josephine Shields, 6, were later identified as the three deceased.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Crime lab processed the scene and investigators from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office and the BCA began interviewing all relevant parties. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office performed autopsies on the victims on April 1.