Congregation member beaten to death inside her own church - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Congregation member beaten to death inside her own church

By Lori Brown - bio | email

WYNNE, AR (WMC-TV) - The pastor of a Cross County, Arkansas church found an 80-year-old member of his congregation beaten to death inside the sanctuary Sunday.

Lillian Wilson was beaten to death inside the church, which was wrapped in crime scene tape Sunday night.  Wilson was at the church helping with storm relief.

"Went over my home where I was born and raised and found it completely demolished," Wilson said in an interview after a tornado tore apart her parent's home in May.

Dixon Platt, Wilson's pastor, found her body under the pew when he walked into the church Sunday afternoon.

Platt had gone to Central United Methodist Church to collect disaster care buckets she had brought over.  He noticed Wilson's car was not at the church.

Investigators said they believe the killers drove off in Wilson's car.

Linda Peeler remembered Wilson as a kind woman.

"Anything that helped other people, she was always there," Peeler said.

Wilson was a retired registered nurse, but even in retirement she continued to help people.

"We became friends when my dad got sick and she came and helped us take care of him," Peeler said.

Wilson, an animal lover, was a volunteer at the Wynn Animal Shelter.

"I can't understand how anyone could hurt such a wonderful person," Peeler said.  "She would have gave them anything."

Investigators are looking for Wilson's car.  It is a gray Mercury Marquis with Arkansas license plate 737-NGN.  The front license plate has a tag that says "Eat Rice."

One suspect is reportedly Thomas Tweedle, a man in his early 40s.

If you know anything that could help investigators, call the Cross County Sheriff's Department at (870) 238-5700.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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