Crime

Mother and daughter killed in Douglas County murder-suicide described as ‘two beautiful souls’

The victims in a Douglas County double homicide-suicide have been identified as Erin Berg and her 3-year-old daughter, Mazey Berg.

Berg, 36, was found shot Sunday afternoon in the driveway of a house in the 1000 block of East 900 Road, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

She was not associated with the house, according to the sheriff’s office.

Berg’s vehicle was found later in a parking area at the Baker Wetlands, south of 31st Street and Haskell Lane.

Mazey and 41-year-old Peter Sander, whom authorities said was her father, were found dead in the wetlands a short distance from the vehicle.

“Two beautiful souls left this world yesterday to domestic violence,” a friend of

Erin Berg’s wrote on Facebook.

The sheriff’s office said that Berg had previously been in a relationship with Sander and Mazey was their daughter.

Sander was a resident of rural Douglas County, while Berg and her daughter had been living in Maryville, Mo., the sheriff’s office said.

“It’s not yet known why they had been in the 1000 Blk of E900 or why the shooting took place,” the sheriff’s office said in a written statement.

Investigators think that after Erin Berg was shot, Sander drove to the Baker Wetlands in her vehicle where he killed his daughter and then himself.

Authorities said autopsies revealed that Sander and Mazey had also been shot.

Last June, Berg filed a paternity case involving Mazey.

Sander was named as the defendant in the case, according to Douglas County District Court records.

The case was dismissed in November, according to the records.

Julia Bellemere, the attorney who represented Erin Berg, said Monday she could not comment on the case.

“I can say that Erin was a wonderful person,” she said.

Berg was a longtime employee of Kizer Cummings Jewelers in Lawrence, and the store posted a tribute to her on its Facebook page:

“Erin Berg touched the lives of everyone who came through the doors of Kizer Cummings. For eighteen years — from high school to the birth of her daughter Mazey, Erin served our customers and friends with joy and enthusiasm, and set the tone for our store. We are shaken by the loss of this vibrant person.”

On Tuesday, owner Ernie Cummings said that Berg was friendly, sincere, sociable and had a zest for life.

“She set the tone for how people were greeted and treated in my store,” he said.

Though he only saw her occasionally after she left her job when her daughter was born, he said she was “very happy” being a stay-at-home mom, and he thought she was doing great.

“She was a very special person,” Cummings said. “She should be remembered that way.”

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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