A woman and her three young daughters are dead after being found early Thursday with gunshot wounds to the head outside the home of the mother's estranged boyfriend in a rural area south of St. Louis, officials said.
A sheriff's deputy found the 32-year-old woman on steps leading to the porch, while the girls, ages 1, 10 and 11, were found inside a van, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer said. Names of the victims have not been released.
The boyfriend called authorities shortly after midnight when he spotted the mother's van in the driveway at his home near De Soto, about 45 miles south of St. Louis, Boyer said. The woman had an order of protection against the boyfriend, who said he drove to a nearby highway to call the sheriff's department rather than stay home and confront her, Boyer said.
Boyer told KMOV-TV that the boyfriend was the father of at least one of the children killed. Police are questioning the boyfriend and are investigating the possibility that the killings were a murder-suicide, Boyer said
Boyer said investigators are looking into the couple's history and checking 911 tapes to see if police have responded to the home, and the woman's home, in recent weeks.