Warren County pastor’s wife badly beaten before fatal fire, autopsy says

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An autopsy released Wednesday reveals the 76-year-old woman killed in a Lake Gaston fire had been severely beaten and also had lethal levels of carbon monoxide in her blood.

Nancy Alford was killed in March 2018 after police said she was kidnapped and tied up in her home that was later set on fire.

Read the full autopsy

On March 9, 2018, Nancy and her husband John Alford arrived at their house in Littleton to find two men inside the home.

Investigators said the pair forced Nancy to drive to a nearby bank and withdraw $1,000 from an ATM. The pair then tied up the couple inside the house and set it on fire before driving away in the Alfords’ Mercedes.

John Alford was able to escape.

John Alford was hospitalized with second-and third-degree burns as well as injuries suffered when the thieves beat him.

An autopsy performed on Nancy Alford says she suffered blunt force trauma to her head. The injuries to her head “significantly contributed to death” but the autopsy says she died due to effects from the fire.

A toxicology report shows Nancy Alford had a greater than 60 percent saturation of carbon monoxide in her blood – showing she was alive during the fire.

Two men were arrested and charged in the death of Nancy Alford.

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Kevin Burton Munn and Lester Kearney face murder charges in connection with the incident. 

Both are convicted criminals and had other pending cases against them at the time of the fire.

Kearney was a suspect in a fatal home invasion in Roanoake Rapids in January 2011.

John Alford served as pastor of Sanford Memorial Baptist Church in Brodnax, Virginia for more than a decade. His wife taught Sunday School at the church.

Sheriff Johnny Williams said the couple was “targeted for robbery.”

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