Sheriff releases statement on gender reveal death

Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt (from Facebook)

A homemade explosive is to blame in the death of Pamela Kreimeyer, age 56, of Knoxville.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call Saturday, Oct. 26, at 2079 180th Avenue in Knoxville. The call came in around 4:03 p.m., that a female, Kreimeyer, had been seriously injured in an explosion. She was pronounced dead at the scene, as a piece of shrapnel struck her in the head.

Monday morning, the sheriff’s office released details regarding how the explosion occurred.

“Our investigation showed that members of the Kreimeyer family were experimenting with different types of explosive material on Friday and Saturday in an attempt to record a gender reveal that could be posted on social media for friends and family,” a release from the sheriff’s office reads. “On Saturday afternoon five family members and the expectant mother gathered and placed gunpowder in the bottom of a homemade stand that was welded to a metal base plate. A hole had been drilled in the side for a fuse, a piece of wood was placed on top of the gunpowder and colored powder was placed on top of the board. Tape was then wrapped over the top of the metal tubing, inadvertently creating a pipe bomb. Instead of the gunpowder shooting the powder out the top of the stand, the stand exploded sending metal pieces flying.” 

Pamela Kreimeyer was standing with other family members approximately 45 feet from the device. It’s believed that the projectile that struck the victim then continued another 144 yards through the air coming to rest in a field. The incident remains under investigation. 

“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt,” Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said. “What ended up happening was that Pamela Kreimeyer, a wife, mother and grandmother was killed by a piece of metal where a metal stand, gunpowder and colored powder were involved. This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death; please do not take these unnecessary risks. My condolences go out to the family.”

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the investigation by the Iowa State Fire Marshall’s Office, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Indiana Township Fire Department, the Knoxville City Fire and Rescue, and the Marion County Medical Examiner’s Office.