LIVE

"I had the perfect life a few years ago but it has spiraled out of control and I desperately need any help you can provide," James Shields wrote on GoFundMe in April

By Chris Harris
August 01, 2018 01:26 PM
Advertisement
james-shields
Credit: James Shields/Facebook; GoFundMe

At a press conference Tuesday, New York City police investigators said the life of 39-year-old James Shields — the Queens man who fatally shot his wife, ex-wife and 6-year-old son Monday night before killing himself — was “spiraling out of control” amid a fight over custody.

Citing a GoFundMe page PEOPLE accessed before it was taken down, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Shields expressed rage over his frustrated efforts to see his son, who lived with his mother in the Netherlands.

“What this appears to be is a custody battle, essentially,” said Shea.

“There’s some self-reported statements that his life was spiraling out of control,” Shea explained. “[Shields] makes reference to financial obligations.”

Shields created the GoFundMe page in an effort to raise $30,000 to fund his ongoing legal battles over the custody of the boy, James Jr. No one donated to Shields’ cause.

On the page, which he titled “Child Kidnapping,” Shields wrote, “I’ve been spending a fortune to travel [to Holland] as much as I could.” He claimed the boy’s mother was “spiteful” and was motivated by “extreme jealousy and bitterness.”

“I had the perfect life a few years ago but it has spiraled out of control and I desperately need any help you could provide,” Shields wrote.

• 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.

Police responded to Shields’ Astoria, Queens, apartment at around 9 p.m. Monday after neighbors who had heard gunshots called 911.

Shields, authorities determined, killed his wife, 38-year-old Saskia Shields, his ex-wife, 47-year-old Linda Olthof, and their son, James Jr., before slitting his own throat and fatally shooting himself.

Police found two Glock pistols and seven other fully loaded magazines, said Shea.

“We have approximately an additional 70 rounds, and what those rounds were meant for may never be known,” Shea said.

A note was found at the scene, NYPD sources confirmed.

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