Aulander community mourns deadly stabbing at prayer vigil

AULANDER, N.C. (WITN) -An outpouring of tears, love, and faith surrounded Aulander Wednesday night as people grieved during an emotional prayer vigil.

“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” said Sandra Lee, an Aulander resident. “One that I wish had never happened.”

They were all remembering the life of Lan Rawls and praying for Rochelle Harrell.

According to Bertie County Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin, both women were severely stabbed late Monday night at a home on North Commerce Street.

Ruffin says 82-year-old Rawls died at the scene and 62-year-old Harrell, who’s her nurse aid, was airlifted with critical injuries.

Frank Mitchell says it’s gut-wrenching. “Taken unnecessarily,” Mitchell said. “You know criminals just out to do harm to anybody that comes across their path.”

Shortly after the stabbing, Ruffin says a car was stolen from the home but was later found in the woods close to the murder scene.

While those at the vigil expressed their sadness, Lee says it is bringing the small town together.

“I’m glad to be a part of this, although I wish it was something joyful,” Lee said. “God knows and God is going to work it out.”

Ruffin says they don’t have a motive for why the stabbing happened, but residents remain strong in their faith.

Ruffin says there were no signs of forced entry into the home following the stabbing that would help the investigation.

He says he wants people to know the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office is doing everything to find those responsible.

The investigation continues. So far, there have been no arrests.