A woman was shot to death and her two school-age daughters fatally stabbed Monday in an apparent murder-suicide, officials said.

A family member stopping by the house found the scene just before 7:30 p.m. EDT and called police, Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said.

Smiley said investigators believe the woman killed her daughters then shot herself.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Bob Jones identified the mother as Hope Orwick, 35, who he said died of a gunshot wound to the head. The girls were 9-year-old Emily Orwick and 8-year-old Lindsey Orwick, Jones said.

He said both girls died of stab wounds but could not say how many times they were stabbed pending an autopsy scheduled for Tuesday.

Two chaplains were at the scene Monday night, and Smiley said 15 or so family members gathered there. Police talked to the relatives to see if they could help explain what may have led to the deaths, she said.

Neighbor Mechelle Rockey, 48, told The Courier-Journal that she has lived across the street from the family for about six months. She said the two girls often played outside.

"They were the sweetest little girls," Rockey said. "They were cute as a button."

Neighborhood children were distraught over the girls' deaths, Rockey said.

"They all played together," she said.