, Muskogee, OK

February 25, 2013

Woman’s death still a mystery: Gunshot killed her; OSBI, FBI called in

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— More than six months after her body was found inside a burning McIntosh County house, no arrest has been made in the death of Deborah Kathryn Kelsoe.

McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office investigators had planned to meet with representatives from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation this week to discuss the case. Sheriff Kevin Ledbetter said that meeting had been postponed after the OSBI had requested Federal Bureau of Investigation assistance with some evidence.

“They’ve sent some video to the FBI,” Ledbetter said. “There’s video that the OSBI has obtained that they’re hoping the FBI can clean up.”

Kelsoe, 57, was found dead inside her home Aug. 14, 2012, by firefighters responding to a fire there. She lived in a red brick house about five miles west of Checotah on Oklahoma 266.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner report lists the cause of Kelsoe’s death as “penetrating gunshot wound to the head.” The manner of death, such as homicide or suicide, has not been ruled on, an ME’s office representative said Monday.

Ledbetter said the meeting will take place as soon as representatives from the OSBI and sheriff’s office investigators can meet.

“We’d like to get everyone together and sit down and discuss some things,” Ledbetter said. “And we’ll do that as soon as we can, as soon as we have everything we need for that meeting. We haven’t forgotten about it or anything like that.”

Officials ruled the fire an arson less than a week after Kelsoe’s body was found, and Ledbetter said there were several items reported missing from the house.

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said the department continued to actively investigate Kelsoe’s death, but couldn’t release any specific information.

“Every homicide is different,” Brown said. “Every one has a different set of evidence and information. We’ll use every means necessary to find out who did this.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or