Investigators look deep for answers in deaths of mother, 2 children in Glendale


by staff

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 2:57 AM

GLENDALE, Mo. -- A suburban St. Louis mother found shot to death with her two children have been publicly identified as investigators try to sort out the case.

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office says 42-year-old Catherine Murch died with her 11-year-old son, Mitchell Murch III, and her 9-year-old daughter, Mary Claire Murch.

Medical Examiner Mary Case says autopsies showed that the mother and children died from gunshot wounds before they were found Monday in their Glendale home. But she declined to be more specific, deferring to investigators with the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis.

The shootings happened Monday in the 700 block of Hawbrook Road, about 10 miles west of St. Louis. Property records show the home belonged to Mitch and Catherine Murch.

Glendale Police said in a statement that the town’s officers and the Major Case Squad “are working very hard to gather evidence and information and determine what led to the victims’ deaths.”

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office was expected to perform autopsies on Tuesday.

Police have said that the male homeowner, Mitchell Murch, told them his wife killed her children, then herself. The man called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. Monday after hearing a gunshot. Police found all three victims inside the stately two-story, brick home on a large, neatly manicured lot.

Police said the Mitchell Murch found his wife laying in the kitchen, his son in a side room and his daughter on the second floor.

Both children were transported to area hospitals and were pronounced dead shortly after.

Police said they have questioned Mitchell, though he has not been called a suspect.

By Tuesday afternoon, ribbons had been placed on a tree in front of the home. A lone vase of flowers was placed in the yard, near yellow tape that encircled the property.

Court records show Mitch and Catherine Murch bought the home for $764,900 in 2007.

Records show Catherine Murch, 42, graduated from the University of Missouri in 1992 with a degree in political science and received a nursing degree from Saint Louis University in 1994. Online records indicate she was a registered nurse.

Mitch Murch, 43, graduated from the University of Missouri, also in 1992. He owns a maintenance management company and is director of a business called The Maids International in Omaha, Neb., a cleaning company franchise, according to online records.

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.

Associated Press contributed to this report.