Mother’s Day 1998, a day that unfortunately will live on forever in Teresa Burleson’s mother’s memory. Though not for any reason that it should.

Shortly before 6 am that morning, Teresa’s Oklahoma City home was found engulfed in flames; firefighters would find Teresa and her two children- 9-year-old Chelsi and 7-year-old Shyler dead in the living room. Initially, firefighters said that they were about 98% certain that the fire wasn’t deliberate, then in 2003 fire investigators concluded that arson was the cause of the fire.

Since the Oklahoma City Police Department didn’t investigate fire deaths unless homicide was evident, OKCPD did not become involved with Teresa and her children’s case until 2013. At that time fire investigators had yet to determine the exact cause of the fire that took their lives. While investigators both in 1998 and in 2013 had interviewed witnesses there wasn’t any new information that any of them could provide. There’s also a person of interest, but that person has an alibi.

At the time of her death, Teresa was looking forward to a bright future. She had just begun a new job with Southwest Airlines and was in the process of ending her marriage. The morning of the fire, she left work about 3:45am to pick up her children from a day care center. The fire broke out about 45 minutes after Teresa and her children had returned home.

If you have any information about the fire that took the lives of the Burleson family, please contact the Oklahoma City Police Department at (405) 297-1000

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