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Traumatised: Family members grieve for Nadia Braxton and her three little girls
Police said on Thursday that the shooting deaths of a mother and her three girls in a town near New Orleans was a case of murder-suicide.

Autopsies and interviews with family members, neighbors and the family's pastor convinced them that Nadia Braxton, 29, shot her three young daughters to death and then took her own life, said Police Lt. Wayne McInnis in Kenner, Louisana.

Braxton's common-law husband and the girls' father, Ronald Peters, found Braxton on Tuesday evening in a bedroom in their home, sprawled across the bodies of her three daughters -- Kayla Peters, 12; Nayah Peters, almost 2; and Nyla Peters, 6 months.

All but Kayla were shot in the forehead; Kayla sustained gunshot wounds to the back of her head, police said.

A semi-automatic handgun was at Braxton's feet, and there was gunpowder residue on her hands, police said.

"We know that in the last week or so she had been communicating with a pastor and asking for some guidance. She was having anxiety and bouts of depression," McInnis said.

In an e-mail exchange with the pastor, "she said that she had some hard decisions to make," McInnis said.

Police have said the couple were in danger of losing their home due to financial difficulties.

Reporting by Kathy Finn in New Orleans. Writing by Karen Brooks.