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Who Is Lori Shields? Details About The Kansas Woman's Alleged Murder

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Who Is Lori Shields? Details About The Kansas Woman's Alleged Murder

A 38-year-old woman was found dead in her home late Sunday afternoon in a rural Kansas town.

Lori Shields was a well-loved member of her community of Norton, which has only about 3,000 residents.

Police quickly pinned her husband Damien Shields, 42, as their primary suspect. However, he was nowhere to be found at the scene of the crime.

Then, on Monday, police responded to a man crying for help in a hotel room 700 miles away from Norton, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They found Shields in the room with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities believe that Shields tried to kill himself. They also believe he killed his wife, as he has been charged with first-degree murder.

A 2017 Violence Policy Center report called “When Men Murder Women” analyzed 2015 homocide data collected by the FBI and found 928 female homocide victims were “wives or intimate aquaintances of their killers” in the United States. Based on that number, 2.54 female victims were killed by an intimate partner on average per day in 2015.

While Lori may be one of the hundreds of women that suffer this fate each year, she was so much more than just a statistic. She was a daughter, sister, mother, employee and community member.

Who was Lori Shields? Below are details about her life and death.

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1. She was a mother of three.

Lori leaves behind three children. They are ages 14, 8 and 3.

She was certainly the mothering type, based on her sister Mary Humphrey’s description.

"She put anyone before herself. She has put me before herself plenty of times. She loved my babies. She just loved everyone and the town that she lived in, Norton, they all just loved her to pieces," Humphrey told KSNW.

2. She was a beloved elementary school secretary.

Lori posing for a selfie.

Lori was around children almost all the time. She was a secretary at Eisenhower Elementary School.

Norton Community Schools released a statement after her passing.

“Norton USD 211 is mourning the loss of Lori Shields … she touched the lives of students and staff in so many positive ways. We are thinking of her children and other family members during this difficult time.”

The school district canceled classes on Monday.

3. She was a pageant contestant.

In 2013, the McCook Gazette reported about a Norton woman competing in the Mrs. Kansas Pageant. The pageant was held alongside the Mrs. Missouri pageant in Branson, MO. She went as the winner of the Mrs. Northwest Kansas pageant winner. Her platform for the competition was "The Haven and helping families affected by incarceration."

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4. Her husband reportedly admitted to murdering her on the phone.

Humphrey said on the day of her sister’s murder, she received a phone call from her brother-in-law.

"He was talking in a calm manner and I only really answered it because it was her phone. After I finished letting him speak, I asked him, I was like, 'Well, Damien where is Lori? Where is she at?' and he just answered in the calmest voice, 'Oh, she's dead. I killed her,'" Humphrey told KSNW.

Humphrey said she contacted Norton law enforcement immediately following the call. Waiting to hear back from the police was unbearable.

"I was crying uncontrollably, but they went and checked on her," Humphrey said. "It was taking hours for them to contact me back and I knew then something wasn't right."

5. He was convicted of domestic battery in 2010.

Lori Shields in a selfie.

According to court documents, Lori’s husband was convicted of domestic battery, aggravated battery and violating a protective order in 2010. He was sentenced to prison, and served from November 2010 to December 2015.

Humphrey knew about her sister’s unsafe situation and tried everything in her power to convince Lori to get out.

"I have begged her and begged her to just leave. I begged her to come with me, but you can't make someone do anything until they are ready and I had always told her, 'Lori, it ends one of two ways. Either you leave or he kills you,'" she said.

She offers the same advice to anyone experiencing domestic abuse.

"Get out. It's not worth it in the end. A life was lost here and never can come back," she said. "She made that ultimate sacrifice."

6. He was arrested on Monday.

Damien was arrested following his release from the hospital on Monday, two days after Lori’s death. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced in a news release that they had taken Damien into custody for allegedly killing his wife.

He is now in Cape Girardeau County Jail while authorities continue to investigate Lori’s death. Prosecutors claim in the criminal complaint that there is evidence of domestic violence.

The phone number the RAINN Telephone Hotline is 800-656-4673. More information and an online chat option can be found at www.rainn.org.

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Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.