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FIRST ON FOX: Experts who have reviewed the medical examiner’s report on the suicide of a St. Louis-area woman found dead in her fiancé’s home say the circumstances look suspicious and warrant further investigation.

Creve Coeur police in Missouri have said Grace Holland, 35, shot herself in the head in the home of her boyfriend, a local firefighter named Robert Daus, on the morning of July 22, 2020. A review of the case by county police also concluded her death was a suicide.

Police have not charged Daus with a crime, but the case is receiving renewed attention after a second girlfriend was found dead in his home, 39-year-old Dr. Sarah Sweeney.


Creve Coeur Police Chief Jeffrey Hartman stood by his department’s investigation when contacted Wednesday and said county police had reviewed the case and came to the same conclusion: suicide. He also urged against speculation in the case as the autopsy in Sweeney’s death is not yet available.

St. Louis County Police were asked to review Holland’s death and also considered it a suicide, Sgt. Tracy Panus, the department’s public information officer, told Fox News Digital Wednesday. Their findings were sent to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for final review, she said, and the case remains “active” until that step is completed.

The medical examiner’s report, obtained by Fox News Digital, contained several red flags, according to longtime homicide investigators who looked at the document.

It states she killed herself with a point-blank gunshot to the head and had been depressed after enduring a second miscarriage.

Read Grace Holland’s autopsy report:

The bullet entered through her left temple and tracked rightward and “slightly backward” from her left temple before coming to a stop near the back of her skull, according to the autopsy report. First responders found the gun, a .380-caliber Glock 42, near her right hand.

“I would consider it suspicious in nature just on the facts alone. And there are a lot of questions, especially now that you have a second case there.”

— Pat Diaz, former Miami-Dade County homicide detective

Her family is suing Daus in a wrongful death lawsuit and says she was right-handed and that the gunshot to the left side of the head strikes them as suspicious, as does the alleged disappearance of her $20,000 engagement ring.

“This is all suspicious,” longtime Miami-Dade County homicide detective Pat Diaz told Fox News Digital after reading the medical examiner’s report. “The left temple when you’re right-handed is a telltale sign there’s something wrong.”

LISTEN to the Missouri 911 call in the death of Grace Holland:

He pointed to how her hands were found across her abdomen.

“Your hands fall to the ground,” he said. “I’d want to know if they did gunshot residue on her hands and then his, if they did lab work for that.”

The autopsy suggests the gun misfired once before the fatal shot, then jammed, Diaz said.

“Left side, backward – angle is weird,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He also wanted to know more about the position of her hands when she was found.

Grace holland and Robert Daus at a st louis bar

“Photos would be key in this,” he said.

County health officials told Fox News Digital that the images would not be released as public records.


Holland’s family also alleges that text messages between her and Daus are indicative of an abusive relationship. Excerpts in the lawsuit show the couple arguing and Daus repeatedly telling her he wanted to call things off. Holland also had four daughters from a prior relationship.

Sweeney’s unexpected death on Jan. 13 is the focus of a “sudden death” investigation by the Frontenac Police Department, Cpl. Tim Duda told Fox News Digital. Her autopsy and toxicology reports are expected to be completed within the next three to five weeks.

Sweeney holland split image

Frontenac police said they found Sweeney dead at 6:39 a.m. on Jan. 13. She had “no apparent signs of trauma,” the department said in a statement.

Her mother, Teresa Sweeney Light, told Fox News Digital the doctor was also diagnosed with mast cell activation syndrome. The condition can be life-threatening, but she said her daughter had it under control with medication and carried an EpiPen.

Anyone with information on Holland’s death can contact St. Louis County Police at 314-615-5400. The investigation into Sweeney’s death is being handled by the Frontenac Police Department at 314-373-6509.


“If the investigation rules she [died] as a result of a homicide, her death should be fully investigated as such, and I pray the person responsible is held accountable,” Hartman said. “I would also expect increased scrutiny on the Creve Coeur case as a result. However, we have not received the ruling on the cause of death for Sarah yet.”

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