Tiffany Burkett remembers the conversation she had with her mother 10 years ago.
Constance M. Krieger told her daughter about her shopping trip to Pittsburgh that day.
“She loved shopping, and she told me she had bought me some fish while in the Strip District,” Burkett recalled.
It was the last time the mother and daughter would speak.
A day later Krieger, 55, died in an arson fire in Upper Yoder Township.
Her body was recovered inside her burned home at 251 Venus Ave.
She died of asphyxiation from toxic smoke and gas and from third-degree burns over 90 percent of her body, the Cambria County coroner’s office said at the time.
Wednesday marks the 10-year anniversary of Krieger’s Jan. 21, 2005, death.
Authorities said it was murder. Her killer remains at large.
“It’s really upsetting it remains unsolved,” Burkett said in a telephone interview from Texas.
“You just want justice for your mom.”
The passage of time has done little to help investigators crack the case. Still, investigators said they remain determined.
“It’s not forgotten,” Upper Yoder police Chief Walter Howell said. “It’s an open and active investigation.”
Every few months township police review the case with state police investigators from the Ebensburg barracks and staff from the district attorney’s office, Howell said.
“We’re hoping to find that one piece of information that will help us to make an arrest,” Howell said.
Investigators at the time said Krieger was somehow prevented from leaving the home as it caught fire. Howell declined to say how she became trapped by the fast-moving fire that stifled any rescue.
“That’s something we want to keep confidential,” he said.
Krieger was in the process of obtaining a divorce from her husband, Gary Krieger of Johnstown. Police spoke with him after the murder.
His attorney at the time, Robert Davis Gleason of Johnstown, insisted his client was cooperating with police.
There is no telephone listing for Gary Krieger, although Howell said he still resides in the area.
Daniel Zakraysek, who was the township police chief at the time, remembers the fire.
“It was fully engulfed by the time we got there,” he said. “The victim’s car was in the driveway.
“From that point forward we assumed she was in the house.”
People were questioned, and evidence collected, but no charges were filed, he said.
“We couldn’t find any hard evidence to be able to charge anyone,” he said.
‘We need closure’
Kelly Callihan is the third Cambria County district attorney to investigate the Krieger murder.
Former district attorneys David Tulowitzki and Patrick Kiniry are now county judges.
Callihan maintains case files left to her.
“The case has never been closed,” Callihan said. “My heart goes out to the family living with the uncertainty of what happened.”
Authorities continue to ask for the public’s help.
“All information is valuable to us,” Callihan said. “Someone might think that this something is irrelevant, but that could be the one piece of information that helps us connect A to B.”
Alicia Widmer, who also lives in Texas, spoke fondly of her mother, a longtime clerk in the fine jewelry department at Boscov’s department store in The Galleria.
“She was amazing,” Widmer said. “She was the best mother anyone could ever ask for.”
The sisters cherish the memories. They hope that one
day authorities will find their mother’s killer.
“I still have faith and hope they will find the person responsible.” Widmer said.
“We need closure and justice.”