msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/1/2010 9:33:38 AM ET 2010-12-01T14:33:38

The body of a young woman who authorities believe is the fifth victim of a multiple murder-suicide shooting has been found in Missouri, a coroner said Wednesday.

The Daily Journal newspaper reported that the body of Ericka Wade, 19, of Bismarck, was discovered Tuesday night in Washington County.

She had not been seen since Monday night, the paper said, adding that the cause of death was still to be determined.

St. Francois County Coroner Jim Coplin said her death was believed to be tied to the same shooter.

Coplin said her body was found off Highway U near Bismarck.

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He said she knew the shooter and at least one of the victims found at the apartment complex in Bonne Terre Tuesday.

Children unharmed
On Tuesday, Bonne Terre Police Chief Doug Calvert said he found a 37-year-old woman and her 32-year-old boyfriend dead inside a duplex . He also found a 3-year-old boy who didn't appear to be harmed.

"I grabbed the child in my arms and handed him off to officers to drive to safety," Calvert said.

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Outside the duplex, Calvert found another woman shot in a sport utility vehicle.

He said she appeared to have been trying to protect a second young child who was in the vehicle. The 18-month-old boy was taken away to safety while the 19-year-old woman was rushed to a hospital, where she died, he said.

Calvert said he saw a man running away from the duplex toward a highway, but as police approached, the 25-year-old shot himself in nearby woods.

The names of the victims and suspected gunman haven't been released, and Calvert didn't disclose where the children were taken.

"This is a tragic event," the chief said. "It's not something that normally happens in the city of Bonne Terre. Not something that normally happens in any city."

Calvert said the victims likely knew each other, though investigators were still trying to determine their relationships with the children and the shooter. It wasn't immediately clear who lived in the duplex where the bodies were found, but Calvert said at least two of the victims lived there.

Jesse Smith, 30, said he lives across the street from the duplex, but left for work shortly before the shooting. Smith said he frequently saw the young woman who lived there, and she was often fighting with a man.

"I saw them arguing a million times," he said.

Smith said he often noticed the couple's older child playing outside unattended, even when it was pouring rain.

While domestic arguments were frequent at the duplex, Smith said, he never saw or heard about physical violence taking place there. He said the neighborhood was quiet, the duplexes were new and that police never visited the neighborhood.

Investigators suspect domestic violence, but Calvert said he had no record of his officers being dispatched to the home on previous calls.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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