JENNINGS, Mo. -- A woman who fatally shot her two daughters before killing herself this week was homeless, unemployed, in debt and without hope she could turn things around, police said.
LaRhonda Mason, 29, was relying on friends for temporary housing, moving from place to place with Teleanna, 11, and Jazelyn, 3. Jennings police Sgt. Shawn Lane said that by all accounts, she did her best to make sure the girls were fed and clothed.
She had lots of debts, and when her car was towed after Christmas, she saw no way to work and provide a home, Lane told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
She left a four-page suicide letter thanking everyone who had tried to help her, Lane said.
On Monday night, she set off with her daughters from the home of a male friend and former co-worker who had given the family a place to stay.
The friend followed her in his car, talking to her out his window, urging her to come home, Lane said. When he pulled over to get out, she pulled out a revolver.
She tossed the suicide note to the ground, shot each girl once in the head, and then herself.
Inside the older girl's knapsack was a new journal, a Christmas present. It was signed: "A journal for my little girl."
Police at first believed the friend had been the shooter. But then they found the suicide note and confirmed it was her handwriting.
Investigators learned later that the family had stayed with the friend for a few days, and he was urging them to stay longer.