Doll hanging from noose found at church
Laurel City Police are trying to determine who hung a doll from a noose in front of an African American church on Laurel Park Drive sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, authorities said.
A maintenance man discovered the doll, which was hanging from a tree in front of the City of Zion Church, about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, said Gregory Strong, the church's pastor. Someone had written racial slurs all over the doll, along with references to President Barack Obama, he said.
"This was meant to rattle our congregation," Strong said. "Very disturbing, very disturbing."
Strong said he immediately called police, and the doll was removed before congregants arrived for Sunday services. He said he believed the doll was meant to scare congregants on the eve of Election Day.
"This was not coincidence," he said.
Jim Collins, a Laurel City Police spokesman, said officers fingerprinted the doll and rope and remained in the area undercover looking for suspects. But there are still no leads, he said.
He said the words used and the way they were written indicate the doll was not a teenage act of vandalism, but rather, an orchestrated effort by an adult. He said police have received no reports of similar incidents in recent weeks, but they will investigate this one thoroughly.
"This was something that somebody really planned," he said. "We would love to apprehend these people."
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