A man shot his two young sons and then killed himself in an apparent murder-suicide on Saturday, police said.
An amber alert was issued on Saturday evening after Christopher Cadenbach abducted his sons five-year-old Ethan and four-year old Owen, police say.
Police tracked down the 43-year-old father to a park in a St Louis suburb, Missouri but were not able to prevent him from shooting dead his two children before turning the gun on himself.
Cadenbach was already wanted by police on a $100,000 domestic violence arrest warrant. On the day of the tragedy, Cadenbach had visited his wife Elisa before going to see his mother.
His mother had then contacted police to report her son had begun acting strangely and talked about 'not being taken alive'. He talked about ending his life in a suicide by cop.
An amber alert was issued at 6.30pm and at just before 8pm, a ranger at Cliff Cave Park in St. Louis, spotted Cadenbach's dark grey 2006 Ford Focus.
The ranger approached the father and his sons, assisted by other officers, but as soon as they got close, Cadenbach shot his sons and himself dead.
'He was apparently shooting his children. We tried to engage him and it appears he took his own life,' St. Louis County Police Department's Deputy Chief Kenneth Cox told CNN.
'It was a tragic and sad ending.'
Cadenbach's Facebook page, where he describes himself as a 'self-made billionaire, ex-CIA, Naval Intelligence, Counter Terrorism expert, international man of mystery', tells a very different story from a man who murdered his own children.
The married father, who also has two older children with another partner, had posted multiple pictures of himself hugging and playing with Ethan and Owen.
As recently as September 15, his wife Elisa, 39, had also posted a message saying how much she loved him.
'Happy 43rd Birthday today to my husband!!' she said, alongside pictures of their sons. 'We LOVE you so much and hope you're day is as special as you are :).'
And on November 3 - just two days before Cadenbach murdered his sons before shooting himself - he posted a smiling selfie with the caption that he was: 'Stress free for the first time in a long time.'
However, there were also signs that the killer's relationship was on the rocks.
Over the summer, Cadenbach appeared to boast that he had made his wife cry by shaving his son's head into a Mohawk.
Veronica Haferkamp, whose cousin dated him in high school, said Cadenbach was 'a little off' even then.
But friends of the 43-year-old say they were shocked he could ever do such as thing.
'I am saddened to hear how your story ended', Lynn Burmeister Pfeifer wrote on Facebook.
'The Chris I knew was not a monster. You had a heart of gold. I will never understand this! I will keep all your friends and loved ones in my prayers as we are going to need them to get through this. However, I am not defending your actions of such a horrible tragedy.'
Father abducts his two young sons, age 4 and 5, and shoots them dead before turning gun on himself in tragic murder suicide HANNAH PARRY 6 November 2016Tweet