LITTLETON, NC — Members of a Virginia church prayed on Sunday for their pastor, who was injured in a home invasion and arson on Friday, and remembered his wife, who tragically was not able to escape the flames.
According to the Warren County Sheriff’s County Office, John Alford and his wife, Nancy, arrived home Friday morning and found intruders inside of their house. The couple lives in Littleton, North Carolina, but lead Sanford Memorial Baptist Church in Brodnax, Virginia, approximately 35 minutes away.
One of the intruders then kidnapped Nancy and drove her to her bank in Roanoke Rapids, where she was ordered to withdraw approximately $1,000 from an ATM. The other suspect stayed at the house with the pastor.
When Nancy returned, her husband was beaten and the two were tied up. Their house was then set on fire, and the suspects took off with the Alfords’ car.
While John Alford was able to break free and save himself, Nancy was not. Alford tried to get back into the house to rescue his wife, but neighbors who saw that their house was on fire stopped him from going inside.
Nancy Alford perished in the flames and the couple’s house was completely destroyed.
Alford is currently being treated for burns at Duke University Hospital, as he will need a skin graft, according to local television station WRAL.
The incident has left members of Sanford Memorial Baptist Church in shock.
“It was devastating what we heard. [Nancy] was a wonderful lady,” Della Taylor told reporters.
“There’s a lot of grief that we’re not going to have her anymore,” also remarked Deborah Cox. “But of course, [we know] that she has a home with Jesus and she will finally get her questions answered.”
The congregation sought to comfort each other on Sunday and took time to pray for their pastor.
“Our prayer, I think at this point, is that our pastor heals and everything, and that he can come back to us,” Pamela Ezell told WRAL.
The only description police have of the suspects, who remain at large, is that they are African American and were wearing masks. Authories are on the lookout for the Alfords’ 2010 grey Mercedes, which was stolen in the commission of the crime.