UPDATE: Slain Children, Mother Members of Manchester's St. Joseph Church

A mother and her three children found shot to death in apparent murder-suicide attended St. Joseph Church in Manchester. The pastor of that church and the family have issued statements, but funeral arrangements will not be released.

UPDATED 7:15 p.m., Monday- 

The Archdiocese of Saint Louis tells Patch Christine Adewunmi, 37, and her three children Kate, 3, Samantha, 6, and Lauren, 8, were members of the  parish in Manchester. The church is located just south of Manchester Road off Sulphur Spring Road. The Archdiocese also confirms the children were involved in the .

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According to local news reports, the bodies of the three West County children, between the ages of 3 and 8, and their mother were found Saturday afternoon at a campground southeast of St. Louis. The bodies were reportedly found by a guest at the Blue Springs Ranch who was walking on the grounds. 

According to reports Monday, the Crawford County Sheriff's Department believes the mother shot her three children and then herself in the apparent murder-suicide which took place late Friday in Bourbon, Missouri off of Blue Springs Drive.

Fr. Tom Santen, pastor of St. Joseph Church released the following statement in an email Monday night.

We are shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life involving one of the families in our parish community.  During this very difficult time, we are keeping the family in our thoughts and prayers.  Grief counseling will be made available to parents and teachers of our grade school, as well as our PSR program.  Out of respect for the family's privacy, funeral details are not being disclosed.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the deaths are now being ruled a murder-suicide. Adewunmi’s husband, Leonard Adewunmi, reported the family missing to police on Friday. He reportedly told police his wife had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and suffered from depression.

KMOV reports the family released a statement describing Christine Adewunmi's disorder and that she underwent a mental evaluation at Mercy Hospital just one day before the shooting.

The family from lived in the Arbor Bluff Subdivision just off Big Bend Road in West County.

 officials tell Patch that Christine Adewunmi was a Parkway North PE teacher from December 1998 to June 2006. 

 officials also confirm the children attended Oak Brook Elementary Schooland that the school principal sent out a letter to families alerting them of the deaths and that there will be grief counselors available when students return from spring break next week. That notice can be read in the PDF portion of this article.

District officials tell Patch Lauren was in second grade, Smantha was in first grade and Kate was starting preschool.

The Post-Dispatch also reported that Christine Adewunmi graduated from with the maiden name Pannett.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis tells Patch Pastor is meeting with the family and helping them through this tragedy. For now, they are asking for privacy.

Mary DeAnn Kaiser March 20, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Why, I wonder did doctors release Christine from Mercy the day before the shooting? Are the "mental evaluations" that are given working? Is treatment working in America for those with bi-polar disorder? What exactly is someone to do if they feel sucidal? It seems she did all the right things. So did the medical system fail Christine? And if so how can it be changed? That is my question. My prayers are with this family and their loved ones at this time. I was blessed to have taught Lauren and Samantha to ice skate this past season at Queeny Ice Rink. What beautiful girls! Christine would always come over to the edge of the ice rink, holding Kate, just to tell me she was leaving for ten minutes. She simply wanted to know they were taken care of until she returned. She was a devoted mother from what I saw in the short time I knew her...I pray that a rainbow comes after the rain in this story. As the rain seems more like a tornado.


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