RALEIGH, N.C. — A bloody 72 hours in Iraq hit close to home Monday as four missionaries were killed in a drive-by shooting in Mosul. Among the dead is a couple from North Carolina who had a home in Cary.
Larry and Jeane Elliott devoted their lives to teaching Christianity, serving as missionaries for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
It was a cause they ended up dying for -- the apparent victims of a drive-by shooting in northern Iraq.
Carol and Ted Keith were close friends of the Elliotts, going back 26 years when Larry Elliott was their pastor. A few years later, they say the Elliotts moved to Honduras to begin their lives as missionaries.
"He was trying to deliver pure drinking water to the people of Honduras because the water was terrible," Ted Keith said.
It was that same kind of work the Elliotts were doing in northern Iraq.
The Elliotts had served with the International Mission Board in Honduras since 1978 and transferred to the Middle East in February 2004.
The Keiths say the Elliotts never dwelled on the dangers of helping people in places where help is not always welcome.
"I think they felt they had a purpose and that God was leading them what to do," Carol Keith said.
Friends say Larry Elliott battled with and beat cancer.
The couple's niece says the couple had planned to leave Iraq in a week.
The Elliotts had ties with Wakeminster Baptist Church in north Raleigh and First Baptist Church in Cary.
Several memorials are expected to be planned for the couple who touched so many lives.
David McDonnall, 28, of Rowlett, Texas, died Tuesday en route to a military support hospital in Baghdad. His wife, Carrie Taylor McDonnall, 26, remains in critical condition at the Baghdad hospital.
Karen Denise Watson, 38, of Bakersfield, Calif., was also killed in the shooting.