Investigators said a Missouri woman who killed her 3-month-old baby and her husband before turning the gun on herself may have been suffering from postpartum psychosis.
According to the Daily Mail, Mary Jo Trokey, 32, her husband Matthew Trokey, 33, and their 3-month-old daughter, Taylor Rose Trokey, were all found dead from gunshot wounds by a concerned family member. The family member immediately called police to report the gruesome scene.
Police said they believe Mary Jo killed her baby and shot her husband before turning the gun on herself.
Now, it is thought that the mother may have been suffering from postpartum psychosis when she killed her family and herself.
Postpartum psychosis, a disorder that is triggered by childbirth, can cause delusional and irrational behavior. In rare cases, the disorder can cause a mother to harm her child.
A law enforcement source said that Mary Jo appeared to have purchased a gun shortly before killing her family on either February 1 or February 2.
News of the murder-suicide shocked the St. Vincent community of St. Louis. Neighbors described the Trokeys as "the perfect family."
"It's a shame," said neighbor Frank Cantone. "That's tragic, especially when you have an infant involved. We've waved at them, said hello."
Local pastor Bob Reiker, who baptized Taylor Rose in December 2017, expressed his shock after hearing the news.
"It's hard to imagine what happened," the pastor said. "People are baffled by it. It's inexplicable how someone could do this to themselves, let alone their little girl."
He continued, "[They] seemed like a very stable, Catholic couple. You would never suspect there were any problems that would lead to something like this."
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the majority of those suffering from postpartum psychosis do not harm themselves or their children. The rare few who do harm their children are betrayed by their maternal instinct, which leads them to believe that death is the only way to protect their child.
As many as 85 percent of new mothers experience mood swings, anxiety and sadness in the first several days or weeks following childbirth. For only about 15 to 20 percent of mothers, the mood swings do not fade and can progress into severe depression and anxiety.
"Usually the first indication that it's anxiety is when she's distraught by it ... she recognizes this is not typical or healthy," said Erin Poniewaz, a mother-baby intensive outpatient program therapist at Mercy Hospital in Creve Couer, Missouri.
Women suffering from postpartum psychosis, which is experienced by up to 1 in 1,000 new mothers, often to not realize they are acting irrationally and may hear voices or have paranoid delusions and hallucinations.