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.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.
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...
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.