An Alabama family is mourning after a missing mother-of-three was found dead in the trunk of a car in Selma earlier this week while her ex-husband’s body was discovered in Birmingham, in what authorities are calling an apparent murder-suicide.
On Monday, 35-year-old hairstylist Mary Elizabeth Timmons Scott was reported missing by her family after she went to pick up her two young daughters from the home of Greg Scott, their father and her ex-husband, according to AL.com
The girls had spent the weekend with Greg, 63, who may have told Mary that one of them was sick in order to trick her into coming over, her family wrote on Facebook, AL.com reports.
Greg and Mary had joint custody of their daughters, according to AL.com.
“She [Mary] had been in regular contact with her family and friends and made them aware that she was going to check on her children,” one family member wrote on social media. “No one has heard from them since early yesterday [Monday] morning. The children did not go to school or to the doctor.”
The following day, Mary’s body was found in the trunk of a car by investigators in a wooded area in Selma. She was shot in the head, Dallas County, Alabama, officials tell PEOPLE.
Mary and Greg had been in a custody battle over their kids before her death, according to the Associated Press.
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While investigating the slaying, Selma police were notified that her ex-husband’s body was discovered in front of a funeral home in the Birmingham area, about 90 miles north. He was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Birmingham police.
The couple’s two young daughters are safe with relatives in Birmingham, local TV station WSFA reports.
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Investigators reportedly believe Greg killed Mary at his home in Selma and then drove her body to a wooded area about 500 or 600 yards away before killing himself in Birmingham. (Selma police were unavailable to comment to PEOPLE on Thursday; Birmingham police declined to discuss the case beyond confirming Greg’s suicide.)
“This was planned,” Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier told AL.com, “but he was not very deliberate in trying to conceal it.”
During their investigation, police reportedly learned that Greg had filed paperwork with his lawyer on Monday giving custody of his daughters to his sister.
In addition to her girls, Mary is survived by a teenage son who lives with his father in Birmingham, according to AL.com.
• With reporting by ADAM CARLSON