The 2020 death of a woman who was said to have shot herself in the head in front of her firefighter fiancée is under fresh scrutiny after the man’s new girlfriend died suddenly earlier this month.
Police in St. Louis County, Missouri, say the investigation into the death of Grace Holland in 2020 is “still classified as a suspicious death and remains active.” Sergeant Tracy Panus told The Daily Beast in a statement that a report on Holland’s death was sent to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in early December, and it is up to prosecutors to decide if the case warrants any criminal charges.
Holland was found dead at the Creve Coeur home of her then-fiancée, Maryland Heights Fire Captain Robert Daus, in July 2020 after he phoned 911 to report, “My fiancée just shot herself.”
“It’s a mortal wound,” he told the dispatcher, according to audio of the 911 call.
Holland’s death was ruled a suicide in Creve Coeur, but her family has long disputed the official findings and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Daus, questioning, among other things, why Holland would have fired the gun into her left temple when she’s right-handed.
The lawsuit accused Daus of “psychological and physical abuse” and alleged that he had either shot her himself or encouraged her to take her own life. In the weeks before her death, the family alleges, Daus had offered Holland $600 to “abort their baby that she is carrying” and during one domestic dispute responded to the prospect of Holland calling 911 with, “My brothers in blue are not going to do anything to me. I’ve already taken care of that. You’re the crazy girlfriend, remember?”
Daus has not been declared a suspect or charged in the case. He has denied all the allegations made against him by Holland’s family, and he declined to comment on the matter when contacted by The Daily Beast.
Just months after the wrongful death suit was filed last September, however, the body of Daus’ new girlfriend, Dr. Sarah Sweeney, was found in his suburban St. Louis home on Jan. 13. Sweeney’s death is still under investigation, with the Frontenac Police Department saying only that it was “sudden” and she had “no apparent signs of trauma” on her body. Autopsy and toxicology results are still pending.
Sweeney’s mother, Teresa Sweeney Light, was quoted telling Fox News Digital that her daughter suffered from mast cell activation syndrome, a condition that causes severe allergy symptoms and can potentially cause fatal anaphylactic shock if not treated right away. But she said Sarah always carried an EpiPen and was managing the disease well.
“We just wish we could have her back,” she told the news outlet, adding that the family will wait for the official autopsy results before they draw any conclusions. “We just want closure, we want it to be truthful and fair, and as of right now, we're still in shock.”
“We are saddened to learn of another death, especially of such a young person. We hope that the Frontenac Police do what the Creve Coeur Police and the County Medical Examiner didn’t do in the past and fully investigate this tragedy,” an attorney for the Holland family said.