ST. LOUIS - With no known motive or living witnesses, investigators are looking into whether postpartum depression played in the tragic shooting deaths of a man, wife, and infant daughter in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood of South St. Louis.
Police identified them Monday as 33-year-old Matthew Trokey, 32-year-old wife Mary Jo Trokey, and 3-month-old Taylor Rose.
The neighborhood remained shaken with people adding to a memorial at the family's doorstep on Kinsey near Childress.
The pastor of St. Raphael's Catholic Church confirmed the Trokeys celebrated their baby's baptism there a little more than 6 weeks before the tragedy.
No one saw it coming.
Police sources confirmed receiving a call for help after a relative discovered the bodies Friday afternoon. The family dog survived an apparent graze wound. The bodies and a gun were found in the same part of the house, which showed no signs of forced entry. Mrs. Trokey recently bought a gun. There was no known motive for the shootings.
"My heart just sank," said Kim Matrino-Sexton, the Postpartum Resources Coordinator for SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital.
The hospital offers a service called MOMS Line. It connects moms and mothers-to-be with peer coaching, counseling, even referrals to psychologists, when they may be feeling overwhelmed.
Marinto-Sexton is living proof that such outreach can be a life rope to women.
"It could be that she's crying all the time. It could be that she's not feeling connected at all to her baby," she said, referring to symptoms of perinatal anxiety and mood disorders, which include postpartum depression.
"It could be that she doesn't want anyone else to touch her baby. It could be that she's not sleeping at all … feelings of 'overwhelmed,'" she said.
Often times turning to family members and close friends can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and pressure to live up to a certain standard, she said.
"I just remember feeling such a sense of relief when there were other women feeling the same way. I was a high-powered career woman and then had this baby and felt like I was a foreigner in another land, and didn't know to get through the day and those moms helped me," Matrino-Sexton said.
Even though postpartum depression may turn out not to have been a factor and it's very rare for postpartum depression to result in psychosis and violence, it's good to talk about the issues now she said.
You can contact MOMS line at 314-768-MOMS. It's considered a "warm line" and not a "hotline." Women who call can leave a message and will get a response within 24 hours.
Women in crisis should call the Behavioral Health Response (BHR) line at 314-469-6644. Matrino-Sexton also recommended the online resource: www.postpartum.net.