Roughly 15 minutes before a shooting rampage that left four dead Sunday, Maggie Girard exchanged text messages with her close friend and housekeeping client.
The two made arrangements for Girard to come over Monday morning to work.
The easy exchange between the friends showed no hint of trouble that would soon erupt at the weekly family dinner in the home in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood outside of Parkville.
Girard took her 14-year-old daughter to the Sunday dinner hosted by her ex's mother and daughter's grandmother, Sharmalee Pauling, 73, and her new husband, Carl Deruyscher, 66.
But at 9:15 p.m., Girard's ex, 50-year-old Douglas Pauling, brandished a long gun and opened fire, killing her, his mother and Deruyscher, police said.
The teen escaped unharmed.
Pauling turned the weapon on himself in what Platte County Sheriff Mark Owen called a murder-suicide.
On Tuesday, family, friends and neighbors searched for answers. Douglas Pauling was bipolar and refusing to take his medication, a friend of Pauling's said. But those who knew Girard and Pauling said they could not foresee Sunday's violence.
Christopher Smith and his wife, Emily Wassenberg Smith, were the first clients Margaret "Maggie" Girard, 49, attracted to her fledgling Kansas City, North, housecleaning business.
The Smith family is devastated by the shootings and the loss of Girard, Christopher Smith said. He cried as he spoke for himself and his wife, who could not bear to talk, he said.
"We were pretty much as close as you can be without being family," Smith said.
The couple hired Girard as their housekeeper about eight years ago. It didn't take long before Girard's generous and caring spirit drew them close.
Girard's daughter spent summers playing with the Smiths' children, and Girard even babysat their kids overnight.
"My wife and I own businesses," Smith said. "Anytime we needed something she would come out and help. She was a family friend who would assist us on anything. She was a second mother to our children."
The Smiths helped Girard grow her business, sending clients her way and drawing up a business plan.
After the shooting, the couple set up a GoFundMe page to help Girard's daughter with living, counseling and educational expenses. By Tuesday afternoon, the fund had collected more than $25,000 toward its $30,000 goal.
"We all question why these events seem to happen with increased frequency but we also know how communities step up to assist its victims in times of need," Christopher Smith wrote in a plea for donations. The teen "will live with this life changing event the rest of her life but it does not and should not be the only narrative."
Girard was devoted to her daughter and committed to giving her a life she did not have.
Every Sunday, Girard and her daughter shared dinner with the child's grandmother, who married Deruyscher just two weeks ago. Douglas Pauling was an occasional guest.
Girard shared a special bond with Sharmalee Pauling.
"Sharmalee was as close to a mother to Maggie as possible," Smith said. "She was her rock. She helped her. She understood the deficiencies of her son."
Smith and others said Douglas Pauling battled bipolar disorder.
Carol Nixon, a neighbor and friend, said Pauling refused to take his medication.
"There were some fights in the home but I never saw any violence from Doug," Nixon said.
Nixon said she met Pauling 20 years ago when they became neighbors. Pauling never hesitated to help Nixon with household chores such as installing light fixtures or putting up blinds for her windows.
"He was very personable and he would help me," Nixon said. "I never saw anything that would really make him go off like this."
Nixon said Pauling was previously married but the marriage only lasted a few years.
"His ex-wife would say he would flare up and he would go a little off on the edge," she said.
Pauling met Girard during a trip to Chicago. When the couple had their child, Girard moved to Kansas City, Nixon said.
Nixon said there were no visible signs that Pauling would become violent.
On Tuesday, relatives of Sharmalee Pauling and Doug Pauling said their emotions were too raw for them to speak about the tragedy.
"This is very personal," said Dennis Pauling, of Austin, Texas, who is Sharmalee Pauling's nephew and Doug Pauling's cousin.
Dennis Pauling said he and his cousin last spoke several weeks ago, but he declined further comment.
Court records show Doug Pauling had been dealing with financial problems for several years.
In April 2014, the Missouri Department of Revenue was granted an $18,313 judgment against him for failing to pay taxes, and an order was issued for his wages to be garnished. The employer listed in the court documents was Audubon Materials LLC, which also is known as Central Plains Cement Co. in Sugar Creek.
In April 2015, the Department of Revenue issued a tax lien against him for $42,872 for failure to pay his 2010 income tax.
And in July 2015 and July 2016, the state revenue department placed tax liens on Pauling for failure to pay sales or use tax in 2014 and 2015. Those liens were $534 each.
Property records show Pauling owned a house in the Walnut Creek Acres subdivision in the 10500 block of N.W. 57th Terrace in Parkville. The 2017 assessment was $143,577.
Pauling had a business called KC Procurement, according to Missouri Secretary of State records. He formed the company in 2001, with the business address listed as his home address. The company was dissolved in 2014 for failure to renew the registration with the Secretary of State, records show.