Prayers lifted in Aulander

Published 5:05 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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AULANDER – While the search continues for the person or persons responsible for a deadly assault here earlier this week, residents of the Aulander area joined together Wednesday evening for a candlelight vigil as they sought peace and comfort just a short distance from the scene of a horrific crime.

“The family that prayers together stays together,” said Bertie Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin as a large crowd gathered outside the Aulander Community Building.

That building on Commerce Street is a little over one block away from the home of 80-year-old Lan Thi Rawles. Sometimes before midnight on Monday, someone entered her home and stabbed her to death. Her caregiver, 62-year-old Rochelle Harrell, was critically injured. Harrell remains hospitalized.

Local ministers offered up prayer on Wednesday to comfort the grieving families of the two victims.

One family member said Rawles came to the United States in 1975 after the war ended in her native Vietnam.

“She never said a harsh word to anyone and would help anyone if needed,” said the family member. “Linda would give the shirt off her back, even if it had been freezing outside, to someone she did not know. She would never allow anyone go hungry. She always made sure you had eaten and even packed a bag of food to take with you. All anyone had to do was ask for something and it was given, no questions ask. Everyone in Aulander loved this lady and the whole town mourns for Linda, her daughters, and grandchildren.

“I pray for law enforcement to find the person that did this. I pray for my family, and Rochelle’s family that all of us can get thru this,” they added.

Ruffin said his detectives along with the North Carolina SBI are working the case, but as of Friday have no one in custody.

The Sheriff added that there is no motive for the attacks on the two women, which was reported at 11:51 pm Monday. He said there were no signs of forced entry into the home, which is located near the usually busy intersection of Commerce Street and Main Street.

Ruffin added that a secondary crime scene was established in the 800 block of South Commerce Street in Aulander. It was there that a vehicle belonging to one of the victims was found.

The Sheriff said that if anyone has information about this case, they are encouraged to contact the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office 252-794-5330.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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