Mother charged with murder after children, 2 and 9, found dead

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — Authorities in Missouri arrested a woman on a murder charge after she told officers that she shot her 9-year-old daughter and drowned her 2-year-old son, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Ashley Parmeley, 36, was arrested after she showed up at the Festus Police Department around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Officers realized that her daughter was in the vehicle she had parked in the department’s parking lot and rushed out to try to save the girl, but Sheriff Dave Marshak said they were unsuccessful.

Parmeley’s son was found unresponsive at Timber Creek Resort near De Soto, Marshak said. A deputy attempted life-saving measures, but he was pronounced dead.

The sheriff’s office said Parmeley was charged with second-degree murder and that deputies also expect to see her charged in her daughter’s death. Officials believe the girl was shot in St. Francois County and driven to the Festus Police Department. A gun was recovered in the vehicle that Parmeley drove to the department, Marshak said.

A motive for the killings was not immediately clear.

“This is very early in the investigation,” the sheriff said at a news conference Tuesday.

“This situation is a tragedy for our community, it’s a tragedy for the family and the victims and anybody that knows this family.”

Authorities did not release the names of Parmeley’s children. In a letter sent to parents, the Festus R-VI School District identified the 9-year-old as Scarlet Parmeley, a “bubbly, energetic, and trustworthy” girl who had just finished the third grade at Festus Elementary School, KMOV reported. Teachers and school administrators described her as “caring, caring and compassionate, eager to please, with a good sense of humor,” according to the letter.

“She could make friends with anyone and she was very much looking forward to moving to the 4th grade when classes resume in August,” the letter said.

Authorities were combing through data Tuesday to determine a timeline for the killings, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“We’re talking everything from phones, online, vehicle (license plate readers), Ring cameras,” Marshak said, according to the newspaper. “There is so much more that we will learn.”

Ashley Parmeley and her children did not appear to have been guests at Timber Creek Resort, the Jefferson County Leader reported. Following the deaths, authorities found another relative who had been seen with the three safe, according to the newspaper.

Authorities continue to investigate.

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