Police say the bullet that killed Melissa Peskey was fired from outside her moving car

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Police in Missouri say an autopsy has revealed a 40-year-old mother-of-two — found dead last week behind the wheel of her crashed car — was fatally shot prior to the accident by an unknown assailant.

Investigators announced the disturbing development during a press conference Wednesday evening.

Melissa Peskey loaded her two children — a 5-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son — into her car last Thursday morning, and they left her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, bound for North Carolina, where they were going to be staying with friends, according to police.

The children survived the single-car crash along the Interstate 70 in central Missouri with only minor injuries.

According to local reports, Peskey’s husband — a member of the military, home from a deployment to Afghanistan — said he has been informed by authorities he is a “person of interest” in the case.

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According to investigators with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Peskey was killed by a bullet that was fired from outside her moving car.

Peskey was found dead by patrol units at around 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, after responding to reports of a roadside wreck in Boonville.

The two children have been temporarily placed in foster care.

Peskey’s husband is in Missouri trying to regain custody of his kids and bring his wife’s body home.

Friends of the slain mother spoke fondly of Peskey to local media. Some have organized a GoFundMe campaign for the couple’s children.

“Melissa was, she just was like that light in every room,” friend Erin Sanderson told KELO. “We all have that person that has a positive outlook on everything and they ask you how you’re doing before you even get the chance to ask them how they’re doing.”

Said Peskey’s friend Karen Wollman: “I always said she was just like sunshine. She was pure sunshine. She just lit up wherever she went.”