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DeSoto, MO (KSDK) - Jefferson County authorities believe the shooting deaths of a mother and her three childrento be amurder-suicide, based on evidence found at the scene.

The mother, 32-year-oldLisa Cochran,and her three children were found shot to death at a home just outside the DeSoto city limits. The victims wereidentifiedas 11-year-old Alyssa Cochran, 10-year-old Autumn Cochran and 22-month-old Faith Ehlen. Lisa Cochran's estranged boyfriend, Christopher Ehlen, is the father of the youngest child.

Jefferson County Sheriff Oliver "Glenn"Boyer said Christopher Ehlenarrived at his home around 12:30 a.m. Thursday and saw the car in front of his home, whichhe believed to be Lisa Cochran's. He left and contacted authorities in orderto avoid violating an orderof protectionCochran had against him.

Deputies came to the scene and found the children dead in a vehicle parked in front of the home. The woman's body was found at the bottom of the steps leading up to the home.

All four of the victims had been shot in the head. Sheriff Boyer said a 12-gauge shotgun was found next to the woman's body.

Boyer saidLisa Cochran sent an email to family members and her estranged boyfriend Wednesday night just before 7:55 p.m. The subject line of the email said "Goodbye" and the body of the messagecontained some language that made police believe she had been contemplating taking her life and the lives of the children.

The woman had previously lived at the home of her estranged boyfriend.

Boyer said the estranged boyfriend has been very cooperative with investigators and was never considered a suspect.

Theweapon used in the crime, a Mossberg 500 All Purpose Field Shotgun,was recently purchased at the Walmart in Arnold.

The father of the other two children is an ex-husband.

Alyssa was a sixth grader at Antonia Middle School. Counselors have been on hand to help students who need extra support and want to talk to an adult.

The school sent homea letter to parents letting them know about the tragedy.

Here are some resources for anyone who needs help:
Behavioral Health Response-Eastern Region of Missouri
800-811-4760
314-469-6644

St. Louis County Youth Connection Helpline
314-628-2929
877-928-2929

St. Charles County Youth Connection Helpline
636-642-0642
855-642-0642

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255

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