Family 'inadvertently' created a pipe bomb at fatal gender reveal

"This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things, there is a high potential for serious injury or death," the Marion County sheriff said.

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By Janelle Griffith

A 56-year-old Iowa woman was killed by debris from an explosion at a gender reveal party Saturday, where a pipe bomb was "inadvertently" created, authorities said.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Monday identified the victim as Pamela Kreimeyer who was killed at the party in Knoxville, about 40 miles southeast of Des Moines.

The sheriff's office said members of the Kreimeyer family were experimenting with different types of explosive material Friday and Saturday in an attempt to record a gender reveal that could be posted on social media.

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On Saturday afternoon, Kreimeyer and five other family members, including the expectant mother, gathered and placed gunpowder in the bottom of a homemade stand that was welded to a metal base plate, according to the sheriff's office.

The inadvertent "pipe bomb" exploded, "sending metal pieces flying" and Kreimeyer, who was standing 45 feet from the device, was struck with one of the metal pieces and killed instantly, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

"Instead of the gunpowder shooting the powder out the top of the stand, the stand exploded sending metal pieces flying," the sheriff's office said, adding that the projectile that struck Kreimeyer is believed to have continued another 144 yards through the air before coming to rest in a field.

Police received a 911 call about 4:03 p.m. When officials arrived at the scene, Kreimeyer was pronounced dead.

Kreimeyer is being remembered as a wife, mother and grandmother.

“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt," Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said in a statement. "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."

The incident remains under investigation.