AFFTON • Police said the deaths of four people in an Affton house appear to have stemmed from a domestic argument and they are not looking for a suspect.
"We think it was an isolated incident, a domestic incident, that occurred inside the home," St. Louis County police spokesman Rick Eckhard said.
Killed were Dennis Worden, 50, his wife, Dianna Worden, 44, and her children, Brandon Greene, 26, and Emily Dreiman, 18, according to Eckhard.
He would not reveal the apparent cause of death, saying he would wait for autopsies to be performed. He said firearms were found inside the home, but declined to say how many or whether any had been used.
Authorities are not sure when the four died. They were called to the home, at 5352 Vine Avenue, about 9:20 a.m. to check on the well-being of the occupants after family members couldn't reach them by phone.
A neighbor reported seeing Emily Dreiman, who was set to graduate tonight from Affton High School, on the front porch petting a cat about 6:52 a.m. Another neighbor thought he heard several loud booms Thursday night about 10 p.m.
A VOLATILE RELATIONSHIP?
Several people, including some neighbors, Dianna Worden's mother, Kathleen Meckfessel, and her ex-husband, John Dreiman, said they were concerned about the volatile relationship between Dianna Worden and Dennis Worden. Meckfessel said Dianna Worden complained that Dennis Worden physically abused her, and Meckfessel sometimes saw bruises on her daughter.
Meckfessel said the two had argued over having guns in the home, especially after a suicide attempt by Dennis Worden.
Police said there had been a call to the address on Nov. 13 for a suicide attempt. Further details weren't available. But police said there wasn't a significant history of calls to the address.
Other neighbors described the couple living in the Vine Avenue home as happy and said they were often seen walking their dogs through the neighborhood.
"The only problems we ever heard from that house was barking dogs," said neighbor Nance Sutton. "Everything about them was average and normal. Nothing stood out."
'A GIRL WHO WOULD NEVER GIVE UP'
Contacted Friday afternoon, John Dreiman said he didn't know of anything wrong at the home. He said he was planning to attend graduation at Affton High School tonight to see his daughter, Emily, walk.
"She was supposed to call me about tickets today, but she hasn't yet," John Dreiman said before the deaths were confirmed.
He said his daughter had been active in Girl Scouts. She wanted to go to Europe , and planned to go to college, though she hadn't picked a school.
Barb Hegger, a member of the Affton school district's Mothers Club, would see Emily Dreiman at swim meets and her son, a junior, had classes with Emily.
Emily Dreiman had fallen behind in school but worked hard this year to earn the credits she needed to graduate, Hegger said.
"I always thought of her as a girl who would never give up," she said.
The student body is recovering from an earlier tragedy. Over spring break, a student at the high school died in a car crash.
"They kind of all pulled together," Hegger said.
Meckfessel said Greene had graduated from Webster University in 2009. He didn't have a job and moved in with Meckfessel in St. George about a year ago.
"He was real nice," Meckfessel said. "He just couldn't find a job, but he helped me take care of his brother's little girl and he helped me with the house."
A STRANGE CALL
She said she dropped Greene and Emily Dreiman off at the home on Vine Avenue Thursday night. They planned to help their mother clean the house up for the holiday weekend.
She said shortly after she got home, she got a strange call from her grandson.
"Don't come over here," she recalled him saying. "Don't ever come over here."
She said she was afraid after the phone call. This morning, when Dianna Worden didn't call and she couldn't reach anyone by phone, another son of Dianna Worden went to check the house. He found his mother's car outside but the door was locked and no one answered. That's when they called police.
Jeremy Greene was at Meckfessel's home Friday along with other family, but was upset and declined to talk to a reporter.
Meckfessel said her daughter met Dennis Worden through a coworker at a hospital about ten years ago. They married about a year and a half ago. None of Dianna Worden's family was invited to the wedding, Meckfessel said.
"Right there I said something was wrong, but she wouldn't listen," Meckfessel said.
She said her daughter supported the family, working at a company called Healthways.
"He hasn't worked since she married him and she was paying all of the bills," she said.
John Dreiman, who lives in Overland, said he had talked to Dianna Worden on Monday. She said Dennis Worden had gone to the country to shoot his guns.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates through the day.
Denise Hollinshed, Elisa Crouch, Stephen Deere, Todd C. Frankel and Matthew Hathaway of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.