UPDATE: Police Close Former Fort Zumwalt Student, Mother Case As Murder-Suicide
Amy Burton Freeman killed daughter, then herself on May 7; bodies found by husband in kitchen.
Pleasanton, CA wife and mother Amy Freeman Burton, 37, shot and killed her daughter Ainsley Freeman, 13, and then shot and killed herself, police said.
Patch previously reported, the mother and daughter moved from O'Fallon, MO, to California in December, because Christopher Burton, 28, Amy's husband and Ainsley's stepdad, had been relocated there for work. Ainsley previously attended the Parkway School District's Claymont Elementary School in Ballwin and then the Fort Zumwalt South Middle School in St. Peters.
Autopsy results on Ainsley, an eighth-grader at Hart Middle School at the time, revealed her cause of death within days after the shooting as a murder resulting from one shot to her head.
The ruling on whether her mother was the shooter, or a victim of foul play, was not disclosed until Friday by police officials.
The lag time in the findings was due to a deluged Alameda County crime lab which was matching the firearm to the bodies' wounds, said Lt. Jeff Bretzing.
The bodies were discovered in the home's kitchen area, he said, but declined to speculate on what prompted the shootings.
Amy Burton Freeman reportedly was panicked in February over an online "chat" relationship Ainsley had with a Kentucky teen, and even implored the police and FBI to investigate. No criminal activity was found, Bretzing said.
The 16-year-old boy was again contacted and cleared by Kentucky FBI following Amy's and Ainsley's deaths, he said.
The double shootings occurred on a Monday around 6 p.m. and shook Pleasanton.
It was Burton who reportedly discovered the grisly scene May 7 and called 911, Bretzing said.
He was not present when shots were fired, police said.
No calls were logged of gunshots in the area, so police do not know exactly when the shootings occurred.
Freeman Burton died inside the home and her daughter, still breathing when police and paramedics arrived, was pronounced dead later at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, officials said.
Christopher Burton was initially a "person of interest" as he was the only surviving member of the household, but never labeled a suspect by police as he gave a full statement and cooperated in the investigation.
Officers recovered two handguns at the scene, one in close proximity to the victims, police said. Burton acknowledged that the guns were given to him by his brother in Arizona.
Ainsley was described as a sweet girl, according to reports, and though she'd just moved to Pleasanton from the O'Fallon area months earlier, she already had many friends.
Hart administrators canceled STAR testing after the double-shooting, worried that students were too distraught over the death of Ainsley to concentrate, and counselors were dispatched to the school to help her troubled classmates cope with the news.
However, one person who struggled immensely at the time was Ainsley's grandmother and Amy Freeman Burton's mother, Linda Walp, of Chesterfield, Mo., who learned of the deaths from a television broadcast.
"We found out from Channel 5. They were saying 'Amy Freeman' and so I called the local station to confirm and that's how we found out," Walp said in May.
"I hear about how Pleasanton is this nice place but California doesn't have a very good reputation for me right now. It doesn't fix the shock this morning of finding out your daughter has been murdered."
She said she last talked with Amy on that Monday of her death.
According to reports, Ainsley was a star student with high grades, despite the fact that she was new to the school. One teacher said she was asked within weeks of moving here to be a teaching assistant.
Walp told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that her daughter and granddaughter had moved from O'Fallon, Mo., because Freeman Burton's husband had a new IT job in the Tri-Valley.
According to the article, Amy Freeman Burton worked in the St. Louis area as a compliance officer for Edward Jones, A.G. Edwards and Commerce Bank. She started a new job in California in January as a compliance officer for UBS Financial Services Inc., the article said.
She said Amy Freeman Burton grew up in Chesterfield, Mo. and graduated from the University of Kansas.
The mother and daughter left on Dec. 24 to start their new life in California, Walp told the newspaper.
Reporting by Tanya Rose and Gabrielle Biondo contributed to this story.