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Carol Daniels: Unsolved Mysterious Murder

The Murder Of Carol Daniels

Pic: Soapboxie

In 2009, Carol Daniels was 61 and residing in Oklahoma City. She was the pastor for the Christ Holy Sanctified Church (also reported as Worthy Temple Christ Holy Sanctified Church) in Anadarko, about 60 miles from Oklahoma City. The church no longer held traditional services or had a congregation, but Daniels drove there every Sunday anyway for anyone who needed to stop in. She also frequently visited the houses of the elderly people who occasionally attended Christ Holy Sanctified Church.

On the morning of August 23, 2009, she drove to the church like she did every Sunday, reaching around 10 am (the time is pinpointed by a close convenience store camera). At 11:40 a.m., two parishioners reached and discovered the door locked. They noticed Daniels’ car sitting out front. After knocking and receiving no reaction, they walked to the nearby police station. Police reached the church and entered through a side door around noon and found out Carol’s corpse. (One source reports the door was locked, and another reports that it was open.)

She was lying behind the altar, totally nude and in a crucifix position. (It is unknown if the crucifix position was purposeful or if her corpse happened to land that way.) She had been stabbed in the neck more than 20 times, almost breaking her head. She had 12 additional stab wounds and serious lacerations on numerous locations on her body, including defensive wounds. Her hair was singed to her scalp.

Her murderer had taken her clothing with them and doused her corpse with a cleaning chemical to eliminate any DNA evidence. No DNA or fingerprint evidence was discovered. Her clothes or the killing weapon have never been discovered. The crime scene itself is gone now; the building was demolished in 2010 and replaced with a memorial.

The Investigation:

Anadarko Police called in the OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation), and the OSBI called in the FBI’s behavioral science specialists. There have been no other crimes related to this anywhere else in the US.

In 2014, one observer came forward and reported noticing someone with a black blouse and a knife with blood in it, and that they were carried into a shed and burned. The observer perished from a drug overdose just a few days after reporting this.

The exact video camera that captured Daniels’ appearance may have also captured her murderer fleeing; a blurry white figure leaving the same general region of the church. It was released to the public but was too low-quality and has not produced any leads thus far. (The video can be viewed here, skip to the 1:46 mark.

Rumors around the small town (community of about 6,600) pointed to two violent drugs dealers, who may have been foiled while robbing the church or looking for drug cash. They were interviewed and polygraphed, but this also direct to nothing. The main suspect, Denise Darnell Cooper or Denise Kay Cooper, passed away of cancer in 2017.

The 2017 multi-county grand jury investigation also generated no leads.

The D.A. said in 2018 he thought the case to be “solved” and even though no one was brought to justice, he will never quit attempting to close this case.


In one of the articles, it is indicated this was a robbery for drug money that went south when Carol interrupted. Nonetheless, if the church had no regular services or much of a congregation to speak of, why would the church even have cash? If there was cash, would it be left in the church or would Carol take it with her to deposit at the bank or pay utility bills for the church?

(Usually, a designated treasurer for the church would do this but it looks like it was just Carol doing everything herself?) Even if she took care of the cash would she have physically had it on her person that morning, and someone was lying in wait? I don’t see how a church with no congregation or regular services could have very much cash and this theory for the objective doesn’t add up to me and I have a lot of issues.

Was Carol the victim of a hate crime? She was a black woman in a minor rural Oklahoma town, and some religions or just “old-fashioned” folks look down on women being the leader of a church. Could it have been somebody who felt like she did not belong? The burning of the hair/scalp stands out to me, and hair can frequently be a target of harassment for black women (touching without approval, being ripped off, etc).

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