Man kills son, ex-wife, current partner and himself in triple-murder-suicide amid custody battle
James Shields was in a custody battle with his ex-wife and it was taking a financial toll on him and affecting his current relationship.
On Monday night, a 39-year-old, James Shields committed suicide shortly after fatally shooting ex-wife Linda Olthof, 47, their 6-year-old son, James Jr and his current partner. James and Linda had been caught up in custody battle. He often complained that she kept their son in the Netherlands and only allowed him to visit his father for two weeks out of the year. The incident took place when Linda and James Jr decided to spend two months in New York. They arrived on July 21 and decided to spend their time in the city while also giving James a chance to spend time with his son. On Monday (July 30), Linda and James Jr were in James' house where he lived with his current partner, Saskia.
As reported by Daily Mail, James opened fire using two pistols - a Glock 17 and a Glock 19. Both were legally purchased. Police have not yet confirmed on who was shot first. The police were called to the crime scene after someone saw from the communal backyard as they deposited trash all the bodies lying together in one small room. James was found closest to the door with a gunshot wound in the neck, and by the looks of it, it seems like James had tried to cut it before the police arrived.
James reportedly left behind a note which read, "I had a perfect life, and now it’s all screwed up." James had been in a custody battle for a long time, and it was affecting him financially. At one point, James started a GoFundMe page in order to reach out for help. He asked well-wishers for $30,000 but did not receive a single donation.
In the description of the page, he tried to explain what his situation looked like and why he needed money. "This is very embarrassing for me to be writing in this public forum, but my back is against the wall, and I have nowhere else to turn," he wrote. 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."
He also stated that his financial trouble in fighting for custody with his ex-wife was taking a toll on his current relationship. 'How do I choose between. (sic) financially ruining my current relationship vs. giving up the battle for my son?" he noted. "I had a perfect life a few years ago but it has spiraled out of control, and I desperately need any help you can provide." On Tuesday, his father James Shields Sr. visited the home where the shooting took place.
Unfortunately, he was not allowed to enter the crime scene. However, he remembered his grandson, who they called 'Jimmy.' He said that Jimmy was "a beautiful boy." He added that his son was also a "good boy" before stating that Linda was planning to take James Jr back to the Netherlands next week.