Missouri woman Cathy Murch, children dead in possible murder-suicide
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A mother, her 11-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter have been found shot dead in their home as her businessman husband read downstairs in what police suspect was a murder-suicide.
Officers arrived at the large house in the affluent suburb of Glendale, Missouri after 11 a.m on Monday and found the bodies of Cathy Murch and her children in different parts of the home.
Investigators believe Mrs Murch shot her children before turning the gun on herself, Glendale police Sgt. Bob Catlett said.
He said he thought the gunfire was 'coming from outside, so he ran to his front door and saw that his wife was laying in the kitchen, his son was laying in a side room and his daughter was on a bed in the second story of the home,' Catlett told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Yellow crime tape cordoned off the family's $520,000 four-bedroom home, which is located on what one neighbor described to Fox2Now as the 'primo street in Glendale' – a well-off community about 10 miles from St. Louis.
People close to the family said the parents were devoted to their children and the Catholic Church, and that the mother never showed signs of mental illness.
Site of tragedy: The Murches lived in a well-appointed two-story brick house situated on a tree-lined street in the suburb of Glendale
Devastating scene: The body of Cathy Murch was discovered on the floor in the kitchen, while her children's bodies were found in a side room and in a second-floor bedroom
Sad sight: When first responders arrived at the house, they found Mr Murch performing CPR on his fatally wounded son
According to police, the father called and reported one gunshot at 10:57 a.m. He then called back sometime later and told a dispatcher that his wife was dead and he thought it was a murder-suicide.
When EMS arrived on the scene, they found Mr Murch performing CPR on his 11-year-old son, Mitch Murch III. The boy and his sister, Mary Claire, were taken to area hospitals where they were pronounced dead.
Cathy Murch was pronounced dead at the scene. Police recovered a weapon from inside the home, but said no apparent suicide note was found.
Mitch Murch II has been taken to police headquarters, where he is being questioned. However, he was not named a suspect.
Neighbors who gathered outside the family's home surrounded by a manicured lawn and nestled in lush shrubbery and flowers were shocked by the scene.
Happier times: People who knew the Murches described them as devoted to their two children and their church
Hidden problems? The Murches' acquaintances described them as devout Catholics who seemed happy, although one person said the mother appeared distraught just days before the tragedy
'We have a very nice neighborhood; no problems at all, but then you hear this and it hurts that this close it happened,' Phillip Henderson told the station KMOV.
Henderson and his wife, Pat, said their neighbor talked to Mrs Murch just days before the incident and something seemed not right.
'She did say she recently talked to the mother and asked well how are things going, she said, "Ugh, well you know",' said Henderson. 'So maybe something's going on there she didn't know.'
The family was involved at Mary Queen of Peace Church in nearby Webster Groves, where the mother helped parents of incoming students in the parish elementary school where her two children went.
The father also headed an anti-abortion initiative called the Respect Life Apostolate at the church, and the pastor said the family appeared to be a happy one.
Religious: The Murches were involved in Mary Queen of Peace Church, where the husband headed a pro-life initiative
Strong connection: Both Murch children attended the Mary Queen of Peace parish school where their mother helped parents of new students
Following the tragedy, the church staff said in a statement: ‘We are shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life involving a family in one of our parish communities.
'Mary Queen of Peace Pastor Fr. Bob Reiker and Associate Pastor Fr. Craig Holway are working with grieving family members and the MQP parish family to cope with the aftermath of this tragedy.'
Since December, Mr Murch has worked in business development for a St Louis building services and cleaning firm, Centaur Building Services; his LinkedIn page names him the 'Growth Guy'.
He has also previously worked as vice president to facilities management firms, and for Mitch Murch's Maintenance Management - a facilities company founded by his father and run by his brother.
Mrs Murch trained as a nurse and aided with clinical trial research. She was working as a Treatment Educator at Special Design Healthcare, according to her LinkedIn page.