Zimmerman neighbors mourn after news of children killed

10:13 AM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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ZIMMERMAN, Minn. - Mourners placed flowers at a growing memorial Tuesday outside the home where two children were killed and their mother committed suicide, according to investigators.

The Sherburne County Sheriff's office says 7-year-old Nolen Shields and his 6-year-old sister Josephine drowned. Investigators are calling it a homicide.

While they did not say specifically their 35-year-old mother Stephanie Shields killed the children, authorities indicated there is no threat to the public, suggesting this was a case of murder-suicide.

The three bodies were discovered at the home near 5th Avenue South and 12th Street West on Easter Sunday.

"It's so close to home," said Tod Hjulberg who lives near the house. "It's really tough. To think of those kids, personally, that's what really hits me."

Hjulberg, his wife Diana and their two children dropped off flowers after their son Jacob said he wanted to be here.

"I picked him up and he said can we maybe go by there and I said they have a memorial there and we can go by there if you'd like and he said that would help me," said Diana Hjulberg.

The sadness from the deaths is not confined to this close knit neighborhood. Down the road at Julies Place hair salon, the owner, Julie Miller says everyone has been talking about it.

Miller says Shields has come to the salon in the past to get her hair styled.

"It didn't have to be this way. We almost feel like we should have been able to reach out but we didn't know," said Miller.

And now so many are filled with question as they try to explain what is difficult to understand at any age.

"It's really sad. I think of my children," said Diana Hjulberg.

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