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Mo. mom suspected in children's deaths at campground was depressed, family says

This photo provided March 19, 2012, by the Parkway School District shows Samantha Adewunmi (left) and Lauren Adewunmi. AP Photo/Parkway School District

(CBS/AP) ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis-area woman suspected of fatally shooting her three daughters and herself suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, according to her family.

Even though Christine Adewunmi was depressed, she was a devoted mother whose children were "the number one priority in her life," her family said in a statement released Monday.

"Christine was battling depression. Family, friends and professionals were supporting her recovery and stood by her side as she coped with the debilitating disease. No one knew the depths of her problem or could ever foresee this tragedy occurring," her family said.

Crawford County Sheriff Randy Martin said Christine Adewunmi killed her daughters - Lauren, 8, Samantha, 6, and Kate, 3 - and then turned the gun on herself at a Missouri campground along the Meramec River, reports CBS affiliate KMOV.

Their bodies were found on an isolated gravel road Saturday.

Christine's husband, Leonard Adewunmi, reported her missing Friday. In a missing person's report filed with police that day, Adewunmi said his wife was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that he feared she was suicidal, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

He said his wife and children were asleep when he left their west St. Louis County home for work that morning, and that the house was empty when he returned that evening.

Adewunmi told police his wife had been looking up websites on depression and suicide and that she was recently referred to a hospital for evaluation, the report said. Adewunmi also told police that his wife had left with the children on two prior occasions and lied about where they went. The children told him that they had been at a house by the water, according to the newspaper.

In its statement, the family requested privacy for Leonard Adewunmi.

More on Crimesider:
March 19, 2012 - Mother and 3 children found dead at Mo. campground in apparent triple murder-suicide, police say

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