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Life goes on in Anadarko

BY RON JACKSON Modified: December 18, 2009 at 1:38 pm •  Published: September 12, 2009
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ANADARKO — Life seemingly has returned to normal in this small Caddo County town. Merchants greet visitors with a smile, children flock through the neighborhoods after school, and gamblers populate two Indian casinos.

Yet in the shadows of this modest community investigators search doggedly for the answers to two recent tragedies — a downtown fire and a brutal homicide.

The grisly Aug. 23 slaying of the Rev. Carol Daniels garnered international attention after her mutilated body was found on a Sunday afternoon inside the Christ Holy Sanctified Church. Sources told The Oklahoman Daniels was found nude and in what appeared to be a "crucifix position” behind the altar.

A day earlier, firefighters battled a downtown blaze that destroyed the Tornado Alley Bar and the offices of The Anadarko Daily News — a Caddo County fixture that traces its roots back to 1901. Authorities have not ruled out arson.

"Right now, the fire is still listed as undetermined,” said Joanne Sellars, assistant state fire marshal. "Our agent is still doing interviews and follow-ups. ... We’re working in tandem with local law enforcement and authorities.”

Progress also is slow in the homicide investigation, which Sellars said doesn’t appear to be connected to the fire "at this time.” No arrests have been made.

Still, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents continue to track down a steady flow of leads, spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.

"We still have real good leads,” Brown said. "But good leads come and go.”

An arrest couldn’t come too soon for Charles Etta Dunlap, the victim’s mother.

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