Oklahoma police found the naked, mutilated body of a murdered pastor stretched out in a "crucifix position" behind her church altar last Sunday, sources close to the investigation told The Oklahoman.
The bloodied corpse of 61-year-old Carol Daniels appeared to have been left in the form of a cross with both arms outstretched at her sides. Her head was nearly decapitated by the force of deep stabs to her neck and throat, according to forensic pathologist Dr. William Manion, who reviewed her autopsy report.
Daniels' clothing had been removed, possibly to hide evidence or as a kind of trophy from the grisly scene, sources told the paper. She was found last Sunday inside the Christ Holy Sanctified Church, a beaten-up old building on a rundown block of Anadarko, Okla.
Investigators say her killer methodically sprayed a dissolving chemical around her body in an effort to destroy DNA evidence at the crime scene in her small Pentecostal church, The Oklahoman reported.
Even after her death, the butchery appears to have continued, Manion said, citing hand-written notes from the report indicating that several large gashes to her chest, stomach and back were likely inflicted post-mortem.
The report indicated that Daniels was fighting back against her attacker, he said, as she suffered defensive slashes to her hands.
"She was putting her hands up to try and confront her assailant," he said.
No arrests have been made in the killing, which shocked the small, eastern Oklahoma town and jarred even veteran officials charged with handling the case.
"I've prosecuted over 50 murders," District Attorney Bret Burns said last week. "This is the most horrific crime scene I've ever witnessed." He declined to elaborate, saying he did not want to jeopardize the investigation.
Daniels' son said funeral services will be held Monday at 1 p.m. local time in Oklahoma City, about 125 miles west of Anadarko.
Alvin Daniels told KOCO-TV that all his mother wanted to do was preach, and her funeral would be another chance for her to spread the word of God.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Click here for more on this story from The Oklahoman.