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Minister's 2009 brutal slaying remains on people's minds in Anadarko

Nearly four years after a minister was slain inside her downtown Pentecostal church, some residents of Anadarko, Oklahoma, remain on edge.
by Phillip O'Connor Published: June 10, 2013

Carolyn McBride no longer likes to work late at her downtown newspaper office.

For a long time, Annie Lyons hesitated to attend her church's evening choir practices and women's club meetings.

The Rev. Brian Ball packs a gun now, even to the pulpit.

Nearly four years after a minister was brutally slain inside her downtown Pentecostal church, some of this city's 6,600 residents remain on edge.

Who killed the Rev. Carol Daniels, 61, remains unanswered. So, too, do questions of whether her killer was a stranger passing through town, or more frightening to those who live here, someone they know.

“Things are different,” said Carla McBride, Carolyn McBride's daughter who also works at the Anadarko Daily News. “You don't feel safe. I think that's what most people feel. You don't feel safe.”

About noon on Aug. 23, 2009, police found Daniels mutilated body inside the Christ Holy Sanctified Church on E First Street. Even though she had few regular congregants left, Daniels, who lived in Oklahoma City, still made the drive every Sunday to Anadarko to minister to anyone who might drop by the tiny weatherworn building with the large black cross hanging above the front door.

As details of her killing leaked out, concern in the community grew. Daniels had been stabbed multiple times, her head nearly severed, her hair lit on fire. The killing didn't appear random. The motive didn't appear to be robbery. The killer posed her body as if crucified, took her clothes and sprayed a chemical to destroy DNA evidence.

The then-prosecutor called it one of the most brutal and horrific crime scenes he'd even seen.

Authorities did little to lower anxiety levels when a few days after the crime they held a closed-door meeting with about 30 local church leaders warning them to be vigilant.

Ball, who was preaching in his Oakridge Ministries church three blocks away at the time of the slaying, took the message to heart. He installed an electronic lock system to limit access to his building. And he got a concealed-carry permit.

“In that situation, I bet she wish she was carrying,” Ball said of Daniels.

‘Had to be something'

As the days passed, with little information being made public, suspicion and speculation flew in coffee shops and on computer message boards.

A serial killer roamed the town. The death was racially motivated. Drugs were involved. It was a vengeance killing. Even a member of a local heavy metal band whose songs contained satanic lyrics came under suspicion.

But as the investigation dragged on for days, then weeks, then months with no arrests, some residents grumbled.

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by Phillip O'Connor
Enterprise Editor
O'Connor joined the Oklahoman staff in June, 2012 after working at The Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch for a combined 28 years. O'Connor, an Oklahoma City resident, is a graduate of Kansas State University. He has written frequently...
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