3 children dead after house fire in Paulding County; mother arrested

Paulding Co. mother charged in deadly arson
Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 8:49 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2022 at 8:50 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A Paulding County mother has been arrested after three young children died in a house fire Friday night.

According to deputies, someone called 911 just before 9:30 p.m. Friday about a domestic disturbance and house fire at a home located on Woodwind Drive. The caller said a woman was inside the home attempting to stab the occupants.

Deputies said seven children were inside the home when the fire started. A nine-month-old and a 3-year-old with multiple stab wounds were pronounced dead at the scene, and a 5-year-old died from his injuries after being taken to a nearby hospital. Two other children ages 9 and 11, were rushed to local hospitals.

When firefighters arrived at the home, they discovered two young children unresponsive. Police said an infant and another child were found with burns at the top of the stairs inside the home.

A third child in the age range of 5-6 years old was flown to Grady Hospital with 75% burns, police said. A fourth child in the age range of 7-8 years old was taken to Wellstar Cobb Hospital. One child remained in critical condition.


Police said two teenagers jumped out of a second-floor window. One child suffered an ankle injury and the other was not injured.

The mother of the children, identified as 40-year-old Darlene Brister, was arrested after sheriff’s deputies found her on the property uninjured.

Police said Brister is being charged with three counts of Malice Murder and one count of Arson.

The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the state fire marshal’s office are investigating the incident.

If you have any information about this case, contact the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division Tip Line at (770) 443-3047 or via the Paulding County Sheriff mobile app.