Other than the first few pews, the church at Mary Queen of Peace (MQP) was packed Tuesday night with community members mourning the loss of parishoners Catherine Murch and her two children, Mary Claire, 8, and Mitchell III, 10.
The three were found dead in their Glendale home at 740 Hawbrook Road, apparently part of a murder-suicide, according to authorities investigating the case. The two children attended School.
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The hour-long service brought tears from both old and young alike. Parents comforted their grieving children with hugs and held them close.
Craig Avery, of Webster Groves, and his children attended the service and knew the family. Avery said two of his children were in camp with Mary Claire last week.
"I'm going to miss her (Mary Claire) so much," said one of Avery's daughters.
Avery said the turnout at Monday's prayer service was representative of the closeness of the parish community.
During the service, MQP Pastor the Rev. Bob Reiker thanked the crowd for coming together for the service on such short notice.
"I thought we'd have maybe a dozen people or so...," he said. "But this (the service's turnout) is proof how much people in our community care. May the Lord be with Mitch (the husband and father) and his family and all those who are grieving."
Patch will provide further updates as they become available.
Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect the correct ages of the children. Patch verified the information with a detective from the Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad.