TROY, Illinois — "My boyfriend tried to kill me, but I got away," 39 year-old Courtney Tomlinson told 5 On Your Side's Robert Townsend during an exclusive interview Friday afternoon.
She said Thursday afternoon was the worst day of her life.
"I went to the gym that morning. He left as soon as I left, went filled up the gas can, and then when I came home about noon, that's when it all started," Tomlinson said.
She said she and her boyfriend got into an argument at her home in the 500 block of Wood Thrush Street in Troy, Illinois. The man has lived with her "off and on" for nearly two years.
"I just asked him if he could give me the money he owed me," she said.
When he did not, she said she him to leave, but he refused. Tomlinson told police the man then picked up a can filled with gasoline.
"He grabbed the gas can, opened up my bathroom door and threw it in my face," she said. "I couldn't see. I was rinsing out my eyes. I have chemical burns on my chest. He had the lighter lit, but he couldn't throw it on me for some reason. I was doused in gasoline."
When she ran outside to a neighbor's house for help, her boyfriend ran down the street and got inside her mom's unlocked home.
"He threw gas on her face. She couldn't see. I yelled, 'Are you okay?' He pushed her. She fell on the floor," the daughter said.
Police and firefighters were called at the home at about 2:25 p.m. Thursday. When they arrived, they found 69-year-old Susanne Tomlinson and her car engulfed in flames.
Courtney tried to get inside the burning duplex and save her mom, but she said her boyfriend locked the front door. It was just him and her mother inside.
"He set her on fire," she said. "He tortured her, and then, he doused himself."
Her mom and her mom's rescued dog, Sydney, both died in the fire. Tomlinson said paramedics took her boyfriend to a nearby hospital with severe burns. She believes he was later flown to a St. Louis hospital.
"I just lost my best friend, and I watched her die. I'm an only child. He took my soul out of my chest. I will get justice no matter what," she said with tears streaming down her face.
Watch the full interview with Courtney Tomlinson here:
5 On Your Side reached out to the Troy Police Department for its reaction to Tomlinson's account. Police said this is an "ongoing investigation and more information will be released as more questions are answered."
An autopsy will be performed to determine exactly how Susanne died.
The Tomlinson family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral expenses. You can donate here.