Pastor found slain in her church

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MURRAY EVANS,Associated Press Writer

ANADARKO, Okla. (AP) — A pastor who came alone to a small church in southwest Oklahoma every Sunday in hope that someone would join her to pray was found slain inside the weathered building, police said Monday, but who would want to kill her was a mystery.

Police found 61-year-old Carol Daniels of Oklahoma City dead about noon Sunday inside the Christ Holy Sanctified Church in Anadarko, a weathered, A-frame building just a block from the police station in the town of about 6,600 people.

Trauma to Daniels’ body indicated foul play, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Brown would not disclose details, including how, when or where Daniels died. An autopsy was to be done Monday.

Daniels was found after police were asked to check on her, Brown said, but declined to say who requested that police do so.

Police in Anadarko, about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, referred all questions about the case to the state police agency.

While the church did not have a regular congregation, Brown said, Daniels was there every Sunday in case people came in to pray or hear a sermon.

“From the little bit I know about her, she was very dedicated to her calling,” Brown said.
But few may have sought guidance there. Daniels’ car was usually the only vehicle at the church, said Mitchell Pendarvis, who lives next door.

The church, some of its paint peeling and its screen door torn, is in an area that is part business and part residential. It overlooks an area that includes two vacant homes and an abandoned car wash. The church is near an alley where Pendarvis said men sometimes congregate and drink.

“They sit back there, some of them sleep there,” he said.

Anadarko usually has two or three homicides a year, Brown said, with the most recent being about a month ago — a beating death in which a suspect was caught. About half a mile from the church is an area that has a higher-than-normal crime rate, Brown said, with crimes involving drug activity.

Brown said detectives were seeking to talk to people who live near the church and do more extensive interviews with family and friends. Officials spoke on Sunday with several people who gathered around the building after word about the slaying spread.

Many of them wept and hugged each other.

Vic Bryan, the owner of the nearby Linda’s Swap Shop, said he’d met Daniels just once, when she came to his antique business to introduce herself. He recalled her as “a pleasant lady” and said the area is usually quiet.

“We’ve had very little trouble over the years with anything, especially anything like this,” he said.

Daniels was a graduate of Douglass High School in Oklahoma City and the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. She is survived by her adult daughter, Raina.

Daniels’ mother, Charlesetta Dunlap, said the family had no further information about the circumstances and wasn’t ready to talk about Daniels.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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