Pastor discovered stabbed, burned when husband opens van: GA cops


Her husband and daughter tracked her location all day after she went to satisfy a person for lunch, police say. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


A Georgia man monitoring his spouse opened the trunk of her minivan and located her physique stabbed and burned inside, he instructed police.

Antonio Harrell and his daughter had been monitoring Marita Harrell’s location the entire day on May 18, in keeping with a Dekalb County police incident report. Marita Harrell was a pastor, and she or he had visited a person who had just lately gotten out of jail for lunch within the Atlanta metro space.

After Harrell’s husband discovered her physique in Lithonia, he known as the police.

Harrell, a 57-year-old mom to 2 daughters who lived in McDonough and a pastor to many, was a well-recognized face in her group, in keeping with her biography with Connections United Methodist Church.

“I was fortunate to know her during our seminary years, where … she was a great leader and supportive classmate,” a priest mentioned on Facebook. “We had had a message exchange last month. She was always close to Jesus.”

Harrell appreciated to assist individuals who had been incarcerated, in keeping with the police incident report, regardless that her husband requested her to not for her security.

On the day her physique was discovered, Harrell messaged a pal that she deliberate to satisfy a person for lunch. She gave her pal the identify of the person, Christopher Griggs, and the assembly location, in keeping with the incident report, including in her message that she “could never be too careful,” and “didn’t want to hear anything from her husband,” in keeping with police.

Once investigators discovered that Harrell had visited the person’s residence, authorities obtained a search warrant, FOX5 Atlanta reported.

Inside, officers discovered what gave the impression to be the scene of the stabbing, in keeping with FOX5 Atlanta. Griggs wasn’t on the residence when police arrived however instructed officers that he would flip himself in, the outlet reported.

When he didn’t flip himself in on the scheduled time, officers went to seek out him, FOX5 Atlanta reported.

Griggs, 27, was arrested on prices of homicide and first-degree arson and is being held at DeKalb County Jail, data present.

Officers haven’t disclosed a doable motive. The investigation is ongoing, in keeping with police.

Harrell lived within the Atlanta space for over 30 years and labored for the promoting division on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier than working as a pastor, in keeping with her biography with Connections UMC. She earned her Master of Divinity Degree in 2014 and her License to Preach in 2015.

She was concerned with Rivertown United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Children’s Home and the Newnan Chapel United Methodist Church, in keeping with her biography.

Harrell was described as a “child of God,” her biography mentioned.

“I know the love Rivertown has for (Harrell), and the love she has for Rivertown. We are asked to be in prayer especially for her husband and daughters. Please keep the entire family in your prayers. May God’s comforting arms envelop her family, friends, and loved ones,” Rivertown United Methodist Church posted on Facebook.

“She was passionate about what she did, which was helping those who are lost and left out,” the Rev. Michael T. McQueen, who works as UMC’s district superintendent over Fulton and Clayton County church buildings, instructed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “She was doing what she loved to do. That’s what makes this so tragic.”

Lithonia is about 19 miles east of Atlanta.

Alison Cutler is a National Real Time Reporter for the Southeast at McClatchy. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and beforehand labored for The News Leader in Staunton, VA, a department of USAToday.

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