Slain preacher’s body was in staged position, Anadarko investigator said

| August 27, 2009

ANADARKO — Investigators found the body of the Rev. Carol Daniels in what appeared to be a staged position, The Oklahoman learned Wednesday from a source close to the investigation.

Details of Sunday’s homicide have been closely guarded by authorities who are working to catch the killer or killers while trying to calm the fears of local residents.

Investigators said they are haunted by the methodical nature of the killing of the woman inside the Christ Holy Sanctified Church, once an old grocery store that sits on the edge of a predominantly black neighborhood.

A source who visited the crime scene described it as "bone-chilling" and "spooky," noting that the killing happened between 10 a.m. and noon Sunday a half block from the Anadarko Police Department. Investigators have retrieved video surveillance of the area covering that time period and the images have been sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation lab for enhancement, the source said.

Investigators removed a back door from the church, which fronts a brick-paved alley choked partly by weeds. A large, square piece of black-painted plywood now covers the entryway.

Visitors have started a makeshift memorial of flowers and stuffed animals in front of the tiny church. Daniels, 61, drove from her home in Oklahoma City every Sunday to preach at the church. She was preparing for her morning sermon at the time of the attack. Daniels died from "multiple sharp-force injuries," according to the state Medical Examiner’s office.

"From the information we have received Pastor Daniels was a sweet lady who wanted to share the Lord with this community," said Bret Burns, Caddo County’s district attorney. "Her murder was an evil act of someone who does not value the sanctity of life."

Crime scene investigators spent 15 hours collecting evidence Sunday after Daniels’ body was discovered, Burns said. He declined to discuss evidence or the progress of the investigation.

"Right now we’re not releasing any details of the crime scene to protect the integrity of the investigation," Burns added. "We don’t want to create hysteria and panic in our community, but at the same time I want the public to be observant and cautious. The public’s safety is our highest priority.

"Until we catch the killer or killers, we need to keep our guard up."

Burns expressed that sentiment Wednesday morning in a closed-door meeting with local church leaders. Some 30 ministers attended the meeting, as well as Caddo County Sheriff Gene Cain and representatives of the Anadarko Police Department.

"This was a private meeting between law enforcement and the local churches," Burns said. "I felt the facts of this case warranted a brief discussion with local church leaders so they can better understand the situation and take appropriate steps to remain vigilant."

Several ministers who attended the meeting said they were afraid to speak publicly.

"Darkness will always be overcome by light," said Andrew Ware, a preacher with the Pentecostal Church in nearby Carnegie. "All we can do is pray that the killer will be brought to justice."

The Rev. Samineni Stanislaus of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Anadarko said he was eager to meet with his congregation.

"A lot of people have fears," he said. "I’m going to tell them to be careful and cautious. I pray that God will give us the wisdom to know how to protect ourselves."

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Category: Church Security

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