Thursday, March 23, 2006

Church of Christ Minister Found Slain

This is really bad, and I'm sure more details will be forthcoming, but here's an article that shocked me today.

Tennessee Minister Found Slain; Amber Alert Issued for Family
Thursday, March 23, 2006

SELMER, Tenn. A church minister was found shot to death in his parsonage,
and authorities were searching for his missing wife and three young
daughters Thursday.

It wasn't immediately clear if the woman and children were abducted or if
they were involved in the crime and fled.

Church members went searching for pastor Matthew Winkler late Wednesday when
he didn't show up for an evening service at Fourth Street Church of Christ,
police said. They used a key to enter the parsonage and found him dead in a
bedroom. His family was gone.

Selmer Police Chief Neal Burks said Thursday that Winkler, 31, had been

"We're just really puzzled," Burks said. He said investigators weren't sure
if Winkler's wife had the children or if any outsiders were involved in
Winkler's death and the family's disappearance.

According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson,
there were no signs of forced entry at the parsonage.

The bureau issued an Amber Alert early Thursday for the couple's daughters,
Breanna, 1, Mary Alice, 6, and Patricia, 8. The alert said the girls may be
with their mother, Mary Winkler.

Mary Winkler was last seen late Tuesday afternoon picking up the children
from school, said Ed Jones, TBI assistant director. Burks said she worked as
a substitute teacher at the elementary school.

Arkansas state police were alerted to be on the lookout for the family's van
but said Thursday morning that they had had no sightings of the family or
their minivan.

The family had been living in Selmer, a town of about 4,600 residents in
western Tennessee, for about a year, Burks said.

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