DESOTO, Mo. - Investigators say they are leaning toward murder-suicide as the cause of death of a woman and her three daughters who were found shot to death early Thursday morning outside the woman's estranged boyfriend's eastern Missouri home.
The four bodies were discovered just outside the De Soto City limits, St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK reported.
De Soto is about 50 miles south of St. Louis in Jefferson County.
The girls, aged 1, 10 and 11, were found shot to death inside a car near a home, according to KSDK. The woman, 32, was found near the front porch, also dead of a gunshot wound, the station reported.
A shotgun was found next to the woman's body, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
"We're developing more information that leads us to believe more toward the murder-suicide aspect of this investigation than just and outright homicide," Jefferson County Sheriff Oliver "Glenn" Boyer said.
The woman's boyfriend told police he arrived home around 12:30 a.m. Thursday to find the woman's car at his house, Jefferson County Sheriff Olive "Glenn" Boyer told KSDK. The estranged boyfriend left and called authorities because he did not want to violate an order of protection that was filed against him, Boyer said.
The names of the victims have not been released.
The estranged boyfriend was the father of at least one of the children, according to KSDK.