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Two Ex-Parkway Students' Deaths Ruled Murder-Suicide

May 7 deaths belie plan for fresh start in California.

The deaths of a Parkway West High School graduate and her daughter—a former Parkway district student, were deemed a murder-suicide, California police said Monday.

After an 11-week investigation, police in the San Francisco Bay Area said Amy Freeman Burton, 37, shot and killed her daughter Ainsley Freeman, 13, and then shot and killed herself. 

The  by Amy Burton's husband, Christopher Burton, 28. He was initially a "person of interest" but never labeled a suspect by police as he gave a full statement and cooperated in the investigation.

The family moved to Pleasanton, CA in December from O'Fallon, MO when Christopher Burton got a new IT job in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Amy Burton is a 1993 Parkway West High graduate, the district confirmed. Her daughter Ainsley Freeman attended Claymont Elementary in Ballwin, and Fort Zumwalt South Middle School in O'Fallon—prior to their move to California.

The teen died of one gunshot to the head, but was still breathing when paramedics arrived, police said. She died at an area hospital shortly afterward, police said. The mother was found dead at the scene.

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The shooter, Amy Burton, was reportedly upset in February over an online chat relationship that she told police her daughter Ainsley had with a Kentucky teen, and asked police and FBI to investigate. No criminal activity was found, Pleasanton police Lt. Jeff Bretzing said.

The 16-year-old boy was cleared by Kentucky FBI following the murder-suicide, Bretzing said. 

Officers recovered two handguns at the scene, one near Amy Burton's body, police said. Christopher Burton said the couple got the guns in Arizona.

Amy Burton's mother, Linda Walp of Chesterfield, said she learned of the deaths of her daughter and grandaughter 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 after the shootings, 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," Walp said.

Walp said she last talked with her daughter on the day her body was discovered. 

An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Amy Burton worked for Edward Jones, A.G. Edwards and Commerce Bank in the St. Louis area, as a compliance officer. She was working as a compliance officer for UBS Financial Services Inc., in California since January.

Records show Amy Burton graduated from the University of Kansas.

Reporting by Tanya Rose contributed to this story. Chesterfield Patch Editor Jean Whitney contributed to this article.

Chesterfield resident July 23, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I knew Amy and there is no way this was a murder suicide... One day the truth will come out.... But her good name is already smeared... We love you Amy...
Jean Whitney July 24, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Would you have any tips about how we can find out "the truth"?

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