Police want information in church attack

| September 30, 2009

ANNA — Police investigating the brutal beating of two elderly women inside the First Baptist Church of Anna Monday are asking anyone with information to contact authorities.

Officials with the Anna Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Police District 22 said the investigation into the apparently unprovoked attacks is continuing, but they did not specify any leads they had in the case.

Mary Shepard, 69, the church’s secretary and treasurer, and Leona Mount, 76, who worked as a cleaning person, were attacked by an unknown assailant or assailants some time between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, church pastor Tony Foeller said.

Shepard was found injured inside the church’s main office. Mount was found in a classroom, according to police. Whoever attacked the women apparently entered the buiding through an unlocked door.

Both women were flown to St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo. from Union County Hospital in Anna Monday night.

Shepard has been moved from the trauma center to the intensive care unit at St. Francis, and doctors believe she will be able to be moved to a regular room by the end of the day, said church pastor Tony Foeller.

Mount was flown from St. Francis to St. Louis University Hospital early Tuesday morning. She is suffering extreme swelling in the face from her injuries and will require surgery once the swelling goes down, Foeller said. Doctors don’t believe her injuries are life-threatening, he added.

Foeller and deacons, who gathered for a Tuesday prayer service of about 200 people at First Baptist, expressed shock at the savage nature of the attacks during Tuesday’s service, adding if the motive of the assailant(s) was to steal something, nothing – equipment, money or items – were taken.

Church officials plan to increase security at the church, including the installation of security cameras.

Police on the scene of the attack Monday night characterized the incident as an apparent robbery attempt. Authorities may make an announcement regarding progress in the investigation later Tuesday, officials at the Anna Police Department indicated.

Anyone with information regarding the assaults is asked to call either the Anna Police Department at 618-833-8571, the Union County Sheriff’s Office at 618-833-5500 or Illinois State Police District 22 at 618-845-3740.



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Category: Church Security

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