DE SOTO, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri woman sent a goodbye email to her ex-boyfriend, then apparently shot and killed her three young daughters before turning the gun on herself, authorities said Thursday.
The bodies of 22-month-old Faith Ehlen, 10-year-old Autumn Cochran and 11-year-old Alyssa Cochran were found early Thursday inside a vehicle parked outside the home of their mother's boyfriend, Christopher Ehlen, near De Soto, about 45 miles south of St. Louis.
Their mother, 32-year-old Lisa Cochran, was found dead on the front porch steps.
Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer said all four had been shot in the head. A 12-gauge shotgun purchased by Cochran at a Walmart store on Aug. 29 was found beside her.
"That information, the purchase of the shotgun and compiling everything we have so far, leads us to believe we're dealing with a murder-suicide and not a homicide," Boyer said.
Faith was the daughter of Ehlen and Cochran. The older girls were from a previous marriage.
Boyer said an email sent by the mother to relatives and her ex-boyfriend led investigators to believe she killed the children, then herself. He said the email sent by Cochran to Ehlen after 8 p.m. Wednesday had the subject line "Goodbye" and made references to her "not being able to take it anymore," though the cause of her distress wasn't known.
Boyer said no one received the emails in time to react.
The ex-boyfriend called authorities shortly after midnight when he spotted Cochran's vehicle in the driveway at his home, Boyer said. She had an order of protection against Ehlen obtained on Aug. 13. Because of that order, he didn't want to approach her vehicle, instead driving to a nearby highway to call the sheriff's department rather than stay home and confront her, Boyer said.