Local News

Durham Police Continue Search For Suspect In Church Rape

Posted December 14, 1999

— Durham police have turned up the heat on Wednesday -- trying to solve one of the most violent crimes in one of the most sacred places.

More than a week ago, a woman was raped and robbed inside the sanctuary of St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

On Wednesday, police were searching through the woods looking for clues that could lead them to a rapist.

Durham police officers swept the woods talking to some of the homeless people in the area and looking for evidence.

"The only thing we want to do is to contact the people that may have any information that may assist us in resolving this particular crime," Sgt. A.J. Carter said.

Those who live near the church on Hillandale Road remain on edge until a suspect is caught.

"It was shocking to hear," said Durham resident Earl Dial. "It could have been some of us, or if it had been out on the road, it could have happened to us just as easy as it happened to them."

Jim Melnyk, pastor at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, says doors at the church will no longer always be open.

"We never thought we would have to lock the doors at St. Luke's or install additional security," Melnyk said. "We do it with a deep sadness that it has to be done."

Police say Wednesday's search turned up some new information, but they are still searching for the suspect.


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