Glendale police investigating death of mom, 2 kids

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | 12:57 p.m. CDT; updated 4:27 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 31, 2012

GLENDALE — As police investigated Tuesday the shooting deaths of a suburban St. Louis woman and her two children, friends and relatives sought answers about what could lead to such violence.

The shootings occurred Monday in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Glendale, about 10 miles west of St. Louis. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office said 42-year-old Catherine Murch died with her 10-year-old son, Mitchell Murch III, and her 8-year-old daughter, Mary Claire Murch.

Police said Catherine Murch's husband, Mitchell, called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. after hearing a gunshot. Police found all three victims inside the home. The man was being questioned but was not considered a suspect. Instead, police suspect the mother killed her children, then herself. Still, the St. Louis Area Major Case Squad was leading the investigation.

Police said the husband found his wife lying in the kitchen, his son in a side room and his daughter on the second floor.

Records show Catherine Murch graduated from MU in 1992 with a degree in political scienceand received a nursing degree from Saint Louis University in 1994. Online records indicate she was a registered nurse.

Mitch Murch, 43, also graduated from MU in 1992, according to his Facebook page. Online records show he owns a maintenance management company and is director of a business called The Maids International in Omaha, Neb., a cleaning company franchise.

The family was active in Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in nearby Webster Groves. The children attended Mary Queen of Peace School, where Catherine Murch was a frequent volunteer. She was chairman for a committee preparing for an ice cream social in mid-August, according to the parish website.

A hurriedly-arranged memorial service was held at the church Monday night, hours after the shootings. The Archdiocese of St. Louis said in a statement that Mary Queen of Peace pastors were working with relatives and grieving parish members "to cope with the aftermath of this tragedy." Messages left Tuesday at the parish were not returned.

Dozens of people have posted condolences on Catherine Murch's Facebook page. "My heart breaks for you and your Family," one person wrote. "I hope you and the kids are at peace now! Sweet dreams."

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