Listen to Missouri 911 call in death of Grace Holland
Grace Holland died of a single gunshot wound to the head in 2021. Authorities suspected it was a suicide, but her family has questioned the conclusion in a wrongful death lawsuit. (Holland family)
A 39-year-old Missouri doctor has died unexpectedly, and she is the second woman to be discovered dead in the same suburban St. Louis firefighter’s house in three years, according to his former fiancee’s family.
Dr. Sarah Sweeney, a West Virginia native, had recently opened her own practice in St. Louis, her funeral home posted in an online obituary.
Her “sudden death” is under active investigation, Frontenac Police Cpl. Tim Duda told Fox News Digital.
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Dr. Sarah Sweeney, left, and Grace Holland, right, were both found dead in homes belonging to Robert Daus. (Sweeney Family | Grace Holland/Facebook)
Sweeney did her surgical residency in Miami before moving to Port Arthur, Texas, according to the obituary. At the age of 6, she was diagnosed with a rare and painful condition called Perthes disease.
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.
“We just wish we could have her back,” she said. “We just want closure, we want it to be truthful and fair, and as of right now, we’re still in shock.”
Robert Daus is named as the 911 caller in the Frontenac police report. The firefighter met Sweeney when she was working an emergency room shift shortly after she moved to St. Louis, her mother said. The two began dating, but Sweeney’s family never met him, Light said.
Read the incident report
Police in Creve Coeur found another woman named Grace Holland dead in the firefighter’s prior home in 2021 – she had a single gunshot wound to the head.
When Sweeney’s family learned about Holland’s case, they sent her some of the news stories. But by November 2021, she had stopped answering text messages from her mother and stepfather.
“She was a grown adult, a doctor and a woman,” her mother said. “We didn’t know what to do.”
She declined to speculate about her daughter’s death and said the family is awaiting the results of the autopsy and toxicology reports, which could take another three to five weeks, Duda said.
“I’m leaving that to the investigators, and I’m leaving that to the medical examiner’s office, to hopefully do a good job of this,” Light told Fox News Digital.
As for the Holland family, they are suing Daus, alleging he caused her wrongful death either by killing her or by encouraging her suicide.
Grace Holland and Robert Daus are shown in this 2020 photograph posted to her Facebook page. (Grace Holland/Facebook)
Holland was a mother of four. Investigators said her death was a suicide. However, her family has been skeptical of that conclusion, and a local media station, KMOV-TV, obtained text messages that portrayed a rocky relationship between her and the firefighter.
A 911 recording provided by Holland’s family shows a man called in and told the dispatcher Holland shot herself in the head right in front of him.
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“My brothers in blue are not going to do anything to me. I’ve already taken care of that. You’re the crazy girlfriend.”
“My fiancee just shot herself,” he said before adding, “It’s a mortal wound.”
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Holland’s family identifies that caller as Daus. The two were dating and had been engaged for two years, according to the court filing. A call to his listed number went unanswered Monday, and his attorney did not immediately respond to multiple attempts to reach her.
Holland was discovered dead in Daus’ house on Fairway Circle. At the time, she had dedicated months to a renovation project at their new home, which is where police found Sweeney’s body.
Read the wrongful death lawsuit:
According to her family’s wrongful death lawsuit, Daus controlled Holland’s finances. Her parents suspected domestic violence in the months before her death, and a relative allegedly overheard Daus telling her, “My brothers in blue are not going to do anything to me. I’ve already taken care of that. You’re the crazy girlfriend.”
Text messages included in the lawsuit indicate that while the couple fought frequently, Daus repeatedly told her he wanted out of the relationship.
“I absolutely cannot b w you.” he wrote, using shorthand. “I’m not marrying you.”
Holland’s family has alleged in the lawsuit that the circumstances surrounding her death were suspicious. She was right-handed but shot in the left temple. Her $20,000 engagement ring appeared in crime scene photos but is now missing. Seven hours before her death, she was smiling in a selfie taken with Daus at the Conway house.
Grace Holland is shown in a selfie photo from May 2020. She was engaged to firefighter Robert Daus when police say she shot herself in the head. Her family has questioned that explanation. (Grace Holland/Facebook)
The wrongful death lawsuit is ongoing. Daus has not been charged with a crime.
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.
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When contacted by Fox News Digital on Monday, Holland’s father deferred to the family’s attorney, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports