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Husband, Wife, Ex-Wife, and 6-Year-Old Son Among Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide Over Custody Battle

James Shields, via Facebook

July 31, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

Police have gathered more information on Monday night’s gruesome incident in Astoria, where four people, including a young boy, were found dead in what appears to be a murder-suicide.

James Shields, a 39-year-old physical therapist, was identified among the dead, along with his 47-year-old ex-wife, Linda Olthos, and their 6-year-old son James. The name of his wife, also among the deceased, has yet to be released pending proper family notification.

All four were found dead with gunshot wounds inside a first floor apartment at 23-07 30th Dr., with police believing Shields to be behind the incident, they said at a press conference earlier today.

Dermot Shea, NYPD Chief of Detectives, said most of the information on the incident comes from interviews with family, people at the scene, residents in the eight-unit building, and information posted on social media.

“What this appears to be is a custody battle, essentially,” Shea said, later adding, “Financials and custody seem to be the primary reasons behind this tragic incident at this point in time.”

Police believe Olthos, who lived in the Netherlands, was in custody of their biological 6-year-old child, with some type of visitation arrangement in place where the child would spend time between his father and mother.

Shea alluded to a GoFundMe page reportedly created by Shields in April, called “Child Kidnapping” where he tried raising money to cover the legal costs for the bitter custody battle. Shields reportedly wrote that his life had “spiraled out of control” over the feud. The page, however, has since been taken down.

Shea said Olthos and her son may have landed in the U.S. around July 21 to both visit New York City and fulfill the visitation agreement, with a friend flying into the city days later to meet up with her.

At some point last night, however, the friend had trouble reaching Olthos, and phoned her sister in the Netherlands, who found out about the incident after doing a Google search. The ex-wife’s family is now flying into the U.S. to meet with the NYPD.

The actual incident, however, was phoned in by someone taking garbage toward the back of the Astoria building, where they saw the gruesome scene.

In addition, police have recovered two Glock firearms and an additional seven magazines that were fully loaded in Shield’s person, a prospect that worried Shea.

“That’s over and above the magazines that were in the two guns,” Shea said, later adding “What those rounds were meant for may never be known.”

Police say the incident is still being investigated, with a vehicle search underway, too.

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18 Comments

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Mitch

As someone who is currently in a barrle for rights to see my daughter I can understand why or how someone can snap. Some of these ex’s just want to ruin your life and take your money.

RIP

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Anita

How do you know he snapped and this was not premeditated murder/suicide? After all, “police have recovered two Glock firearms and an additional seven magazines that were fully loaded.” People get divorced all the time and have custody battles. The fact his ex wife came from another country this summer and visited him with her son says a lot. If you are truly having difficulty dealing with an ex. please seek help from a doctor or trained professional. Help is out there. And remember there is always hope for a better tomorrow.

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MOTHER

He wasn’t the victim he was the Murderer. The victims were those he killed including his own son. How do you kill your own child? DEMON….

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kiki

That is why i do not like these fundraiser sites when there are written by individual citizens. You never know who you are sending your money to and what their true intentions are. According to what i read, he had raised over $30,000 on his “Child Kidnapping” campaign and for all we know he could of used the funds to buy the firearms and even pay for the flights of the mother and son only to kill them all. May the victims RIP.

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Old Astorian

Several News outlets have reported that he did not actually receive a single donation to his gofundme campaign.

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Carol Lee

He raised no money on that site. As was stated no funds were collected. She paid for the trip for both her and the boy as told by her family members. Everyone blames the dad. This was years of build up frustration. I’m sure there was plenty of words and venom exchanged. When couples can’t communicate and use the children as tools to battle and it never ends well. This is one of many cases where horror took over. They are now at peace and I think people should just stop commenting on what they think and let this family rest in peace.

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yourneighbor

According to The New York Times this guy was asking for $30,000 on one of the big fund raising sites but got zero.

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yari

You are mistaken. The goal of his fund raising campaign the he set was $30,000 and he did not receive a single donation. Some news outlets have posted his actual page.

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gino_brino

Don’t post this disgusting person’s picture. Only sick sick people kill children.

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luk

People need to see that individuals who have planned or unplanned violent/deadly outbursts or whatever you want to call it can come from all (different) walks of life.

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ginas13

It’s a good point. Although too often, the news make celebrities of these monsters.

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sick of victim blaming

ridiculous that the perpetrator of mass murder is not being blamed for his horrendous actions but instead actually being forgiven as it was “essentially a custody battle”. What the hell Dermot Shea, Chief of detectives???
Dermot Shea, NYPD Chief of Detectives, said most of the information on the incident comes from interviews with family, people at the scene, residents in the eight-unit building, and information posted on social media.

“What this appears to be is a custody battle, essentially,” Shea said, later adding, “Financials and custody seem to be the primary reasons behind this tragic incident at this point in time.”
Dermot Shea, NYPD Chief of Detectives, said most of the information on the incident comes from interviews with family, people at the scene, residents in the eight-unit building, and information posted on social media.

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Jim

This doesn’t sound like he is blaming the victim and forgiving this man. It sounds like he is trying to explain what the motivation for the crime was.

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ginas13

EXACTLY. Wonder why there was a custody battle. Probably because he was a controlling, abusive man. How many women and children need to die by their abusers like this. It happens every day.

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nancy

You do have point. I read that a neighbor said she would always hear yelling coming his apartment at different times of the day and that police confirmed that in 2017 there were reports about a domestic disturbance. As a matter of fact, the Violence Policy Center says that the vast majority of the murder suicides perpetrators are males and that domestic violence is commonly a motivating factor. But some people in the media are trying to make it out to seem like he was your average hard working father that just snapped due to his custody battle with his ex.

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