Keeping an Open Mind on a Homicide

I think the media reports about the recent murder of a pastor at her church in Anadarko, OK offer insight into the challenges of police investigations.

When I first heard the story headline, I immediately pictured the rural pastor being confronted by a transient or two in search of money.

During undergrad one of my jobs was a "host" at an urban church--which meant I was part security, part greeter, as well as general jack-of-all-trades. I was surprised at how regularly visitors would arrive looking for a minister and to score a quick few dollars with their best sob story.

This was prior to the computer records that are now used by many churches to keep track of these folks. The opportunists liked to show up at a church after closing time to take advantage of the extra staffers. It was a wonder that pastor assaults did not occur more regularly.

My transient theory seems much less relevant with the information released by police officials today:

A 61-year-old Oklahoma pastor likely died from "multiple sharp force injuries," according to an autopsy report CNN obtained Friday.

Carol Daniels, a pastor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, had injuries to her back, breasts, hands and neck, the report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said.

The report called the death a homicide...

A local prosecutor has described the crime scene as "horrific."

Daniels traveled many Sundays to Anadarko, Oklahoma, about 50 miles southwest of her home, to Christ Holy Sanctified Church "in case people came in to worship," her son, Alvin Daniels, told CNN.

Investigators found her body inside the church around noon on Sunday.

District Attorney Bret Burns called the crime scene the worst he'd seen in 17 years as a prosecutor, but he would not say why. He also declined to comment about a possible motive.

Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma's State Bureau of Investigation, said the body was "staged" after the killing, but she declined to say more...
Despite the physical evidence that seems to indicate some sort of religious or racial motive for the killing (one report had both of her arms extended), investigators won't stop there.

They have to keep an open mind and consider all possibilities including that the crime scene was manufactured to look like something other than a domestic violence incident.


mappchik said...

I remember hearing about this on the news, but didn't have time to think more than "how horrible" and have a quick prayer go through my thoughts for her family, church & community.

To know more about it now... as horrible as the murder itself is, I'm appalled that someone would have staged the whole scene to draw focus to racial & religious motives.

Expat From Hell said...

It appears that once you cross the line of sanctification - meaning, the sanctuary itself and it's people - you really complicate the matters of sin, crime, punishment. As if there are cookie-cutter homicides out there, when you throw faith into the mix...I can only admire law enforcement all the more. Great post, SD.


J. J. in Phila said...

I'm familiar with those types of scam artists, but this doesn't sound like that.

The attack seemed ferocious.

It is possible, however, and should not be excluded. Maybe it staged after a robbery got out of hand.

torn blazer said...

Hi Slam
From that description it seems just like out of a horror movie.

as always love your content

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

How horrible!

What motivates people to do things like this?

I guess if I fully understood it, I would be a little too close to that mindset.

copswife said...

I can always count on you, SD, for something horrific. :-)