Disturbing news to report coming out of Littleton, North Carolina where law enforcement say that an elderly couple was terrorized by a pair of dangerous thugs who kicked in their door before murdering a 76-year-old woman by burning her alive.
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On Friday morning, law enforcement say that a masked duo of armed thugs burst through the front door of a home on 119 Mulberry Court, owned by John and Nancy Alford, in a shocking home invasion that would turn into a day of horror for the retired lovers.
Nancy Alford was forced into a vehicle by the one of the masked men, who then drove her to the State Employees' Credit Union branch in Roanoke Rapids and forced her to withdrawal the $1000 limit from the ATM, while the second armed suspect stated home with her husband John Alford, a Baptist minister, holding him hostage until Nancy Alford returned with cash to appease the savage criminals.
After Mrs. Alford gave the cash to the two thugs, they then tied up the elderly couple and beat John Alford within inches of his life.
Dousing the home with flammable liquids, the criminals then set the house on fire with both John and Nancy Alford tied inside to be burnt alive.
Neighbors spotted smoke coming from the home and called emergency medical responders before locating John Alford inside the home, badly beaten, and pulling him to safety.
"He was all swollen up. He was bleeding from his nose," neighbor Shelly Thompson said. "He was trying to go back in for his wife."
Fearing for his wife, John Alford tried to regain entry into the home before firefighters arrived but neighbors stopped him, saying the danger was too great with flames soaring into the sky.
Once firefighters made it to the scene, they would pull an unresponsive Nancy Alford from the home, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr. Alford was then transported to Duke University Hospital for treatment, both distraught and badly injured, according to local news<a href="http://www.wral.com/-neighbors-heartbroken-after-lake-gaston-home-invasion-kidnapping-fatal-fire/17405263/"> WRAL<KK/a>.
Warren County Sheriff Johnnie Williams said that the State Bureau of Investigation and the State Highway Patrol are now helping to sift through the charred remains or the home hoping to find evidence to lead authorities to the vile criminals responsible for such a heinous crime.
The Alfords were respected members of the community, and the small town is now in shock, according to residents.
"We're a small community, and for this to happen in this kind of town is unheard of," business owner Pete Richardson said.
"They were always willing to help somebody else out versus trying to take care of themselves," Richardson said. "So, it's a very, very deep loss for this community and somebody that we will so miss."
"You can't even have a home or property without someone coming in and destroying it or setting it on fire or killing you," neighbor Joyce Humphreys said.
Sheriff Williams said that the two murderers responsible for the assault, home invasion, kidnapping, arson, murder and armed robbery also stole the elderly couple's grey 2010 model Mercedes-Benz, which they used as a getaway car and has still not been recovered.
John Alford's church, Concord Baptist, released the following statement:
<blockquote>"Dear Pastors and Association Members, it is with deepest sympathy we make this post. The home of Rev. John Alford, pastor of Sanford Memorial Baptist Church, Brodnax, VA was broken into this morning, and John and his wife, Nancy, were victimized. Their home was set on fire. John was airlifted to UNC-Chapel Hill. According to Warren County EMS, John sustained inhalation burns in his lungs, and 2nd degree burns to his face, hands and arms. Nancy did not survive. Please pray for John, their family, and his church family."</blockquote>
The couple had been married and lived in their home for over forty years, according to Sheriff Williams, who said he will place the full resources of his Sheriff's Department into attempting to locate the two criminals responsible for the death of Nancy Alford.
The suspect are described as being black males, although their faces were covered, and could still have the Alford's grey Mercedes-Benz, according to local news<a href="http://wtkr.com/2018/03/10/wife-of-va-minister-dead-after-lake-gaston-home-invasion/"> WTKR</a>.
The Warren County Sheriff's Office is asking that anyone who may have information that lead to the arrest of either of these two savage animals to contact them at 252-257-3364.
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