Local News

Boy says he was forced to set Fayetteville church on fire

Posted September 5, 2014

— A 13-year-old boy who was found inside a burning Fayetteville church Thursday afternoon told his father that he was forced to set the fire.

The father spoke with WRAL News on Friday and said he believes his son, who told him he was taken to Noland Faith Chapel on Rim Road by three men who duct-taped his mouth and threatened to kill him if he didn't set fire to the sanctuary. The boy told his father that robbery was the motive.

Investigators have not commented on the account and said the boy will be charged. WRAL News is withholding the boy's name because of his age.

Ron McKinnon was working on the roof of Noland Faith Chapel Thursday afternoon when the building caught fire under him.

"A big pile of smoke coming and then another big pile of smoke coming out," he said. "You start hearing the windows crack and break, that is when I called the fire department."

The small church had significant fire damage in the sanctuary and smoke damage throughout the entire building, fire officials said.

"Luckily, there was somebody there to catch it at the very beginning, so the damage was kept to a minimum. But it charred up the center of the church around the pulpit pretty good," Fayetteville Fire Department investigator Ronald Lewis said.

The boy was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center with minor injuries. His father said the boy had duct-tape residue around his mouth and was suffering from post-traumatic stress. He said his son had been missing since Wednesday morning.

The State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the incident, which is standard in church fires.


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  • tierneemalinadeveaux Sep 12, 2014

    The guy on the roof didn't see a missing boy with duct tape on his mouth being forced into a church mid-afternoon by three men who intended to rob it. What????!!!!!

  • babylaceycarpenter Sep 8, 2014

    The father said that this boy had been missing since Wednesday. Did I miss the missing child reports? Was there an amber alert? Did the father even report his missing child, to the police?

  • nostel123 Sep 5, 2014

    It has to be more to this story, but i hope the child wasnt kidnapped.

  • Pepe Silvia Sep 5, 2014

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    Not that weird, really. For one thing, roofs have peaks, he could have easily been on the opposite side from where anyone approached, or he was working towards the front and they went in the back (and vice versa) ... maybe he just had his back turned or was just focused on what he was doing.

    Even if he saw someone, if the church is in a pedestrian heavy area, someone walking by or near the church in broad daylight probably would not have been given a him a second thought. Why would it?

  • jwbmom1965 Sep 5, 2014

    Sounds a lot fishy!!!!

  • Barbara Sossomon Sep 5, 2014
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    Aww come on. His Daddy believes him.

  • Brenda Love Sep 5, 2014
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    And someone was working on the roof but didn't see anyone coming or going? Hmmmmm

  • Bernadette Dan Unger Sep 5, 2014
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    Don't think all of the facts have come out of the young boys head yet.

  • dh1964 Sep 5, 2014

    He said that robbery was the motive? You force a kid to set fire to the sanctuary because you want to commit a robbery?

    How does that work?

  • Forthe Newssite Sep 5, 2014
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    very odd story!