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Mother pleads guilty to child neglect in fatal fire in Del City

Stephanie Mae Dunham, 25, accused of having meth in her system when three children died in January 2011 blaze.
BY TIM WILLERT Published: May 5, 2012

A Del City mother pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of child neglect in connection with a Jan. 4, 2011, mobile home fire that killed her three young children.

Stephanie Mae Dunham, 26, entered a blind plea before Oklahoma County District Judge Jerry D. Bass. She also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor drug charges and a felony charge of possessing methamphetamine in the presence of a child younger than 12.

She faces the possibility of life in prison when she is sentenced July 11.

Police reported that Dunham left the children alone in the mobile home, locking the door with a hasp, or latch, that trapped them inside when the fire broke out. The father, Christopher Lee Dunham, was at work. The family lived in the mobile home, getting electricity from a nearby house.

Christopher L. Dunham Jr., 4; Crystal Ann Dunham, 3; and Kailey Mae Dunham, 1, died from smoke inhalation and burns.

Police reported that blood tests showed the mother was on methamphetamine at the time.

Stephanie Dunham's attorney could not be reached for comment. Prosecutors in the case declined to comment, citing a gag order issued by Bass in advance of Christopher Dunham's upcoming trial.

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