Lt. Tim Fagan of the Major Case Squad just spent almost twenty long, calm minutes answering questions from the press about the status of their investigation into the July 30 murders of Catherine Murch and her children, Mitchell and Mary Claire
. The investigators have determined that it was a murder-suicide committed by Catherine Murch.
It was not easy to hear.
Fagan stated that, "On the 28th of July, Catherine did indeed purchase a handgun. The gun that was purchased is the gun that was used." When questioned about the nature of the injuries, he replied that Catherine died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He continued, "Her daughter sustained one gunshot wound, and her son sustained multiple gunshot wounds."
Fagan would not supply a detailed chronology of the incident, alluding to the weekend funeral of the Murch family and that such information would not "be helpful right now."
But he did reveal that, "There were some internet searches done by Catherine pertaining to suicide and things around that nature. It further points us in the direction we're at."
Fagan cited the need to be respectful of the family several times during the press conference. But he was firm on the question of public suspicion that husband and father Mitch Murch either played a role in the shootings, or could have stopped the shootings. He reiterated that Mitch Murch is not a suspect and had no direct involvement in the murders -- something the police have been saying since early this week
-- and explained, "I don't think there was much opportunity for him to intervene. It was very fast, it was very quick."
But what about the two 911 calls made from the home that morning? Fagan replied that "The 911 calls are interesting. There were connection problems, the calls were dropped. One came into Glendale and one came into Kirkwood."
Fagan noted that toxicology reports and several other forensic tests are still out at this point, but said that, "At this point I'm very confident in the conclusion we've come to."
When asked why the police have waited so long to make a determination, Fagan replied, "We took so much time because of the delicate nature of this case. I can assure everyone we looked at this from every different angle because we had a responsibility -- to Catherine, to her children, to her husband -- to get this right."
As to the big question of the case -- why would a mother kill her children and then herself? -- Fagan offered just a little bit. "As to why, there was a history of a mental health issue. The family were under some financial strain." But he again cited the family's privacy for not going into further detail.
Fagan then seemed to let slip his facade of professionalism for just a moment, speaking as a man who must have asked himself this same question every night he's worked the investigation "I have a picture of someone who loved their children very, very much. I know that's difficult for all of us...," he said breaking off suddenly.
He continued. "Excuse me. I know that's difficult for all of us to understand. But she was concerned about them now and about their future."