Friends shocked after learning elderly woman was murdered before house fire

Local

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Police have now confirmed an elderly woman whose body was found inside her burning home on Friday died before the fire. 

“I was watching Channel 4 and I turned it on and I looked and I saw the house and that’s her house,” Robert Ard told KFOR. 

That was the moment Ard learned his best friend, 78-year-old Sara Cleveland, died inside her home near S.E. 44th and Sunnylane following a fire on Friday morning. 

Five days later, more heartbreak and questions after Ard and everyone else who knew and loved Cleveland learned she was brutally murdered before that fire. 

“That’s kind of hard to wrap your head around,” Ard said. “It just makes me sad somebody could have done that.”

According to Ard and the people who live on her street, Cleveland was loving, kind and quiet. They say she pretty much kept to herself. 

“I’m just in shock, like maybe we didn’t do enough,” Lori Beal told KFOR on Friday. 

Beal and her husband desperately tried to save Cleveland’s life by breaking down her burning door, before they later learned she was already gone. 

“It’s horrible that somebody would target somebody like that. What could she possibly have that somebody would need or want?” another neighbor told KFOR on Tuesday. 

That neighbor was too terrified to show her face on camera and give her name with the killer still on the run. 

“I’ve got babies. So, we’re really thinking about trying to move, unfortunately,” she said. 

Right now, police have not identified any suspects. 

People like Ard, who lost a dear friend, are patiently waiting for justice while they mourn a tragic loss. 

“Sara was a wonderful Christian lady. She loved Jesus. She loved God and she spread it all around. She spread it everywhere she went,” he said. “She was a light to everybody.”

If you have information that could help lead to an arrest, call the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Homicide Tipline at (405)-297-1200. 

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