Pastor Marita Harrell Found Stabbed to Death Inside Van, Manhunt Underway

The body of a Georgia pastor was found in a van in DeKalb County on Wednesday evening with several stab wounds.

The body of 57-year-old Reverend Marita Harrell was found by DeKalb County police inside her van by the 1600 block of Coffee Road at 10:25 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Fox 5. Police believe the reverend's body and her van were dumped there after she was killed at a home in Panola Road, according to the news site.

Police investigators have reconstructed Harrell's last movements before her death and found she had been mentoring and counseling a 27-year-old man on the same night she was stabbed to death.

Police have found the site of the stabbing, according to Fox 5, but have made no arrests so far. They have served a search warrant for a home where they believe the killing took place and are talking to relatives of a male suspect.

Fox 5 also reports that police have talked on the phone to the suspect, who said he would turn himself in but then failed to appear at the agreed meeting place.His identity has not yet been disclosed.

Newsweek has contacted DeKalb police department for more information.

Who Was Rev. Marita Harrell?

Rev. Marita Harrell, originally from Chicago, had lived in Atlanta with her family for the past three decades. She held a degree from Emory University, where she attended the Candler School of Theology, according to information accessible on her Facebook profile. She then earned a Master of Divinity Degree in May 2014, and obtained a license to preach in 2015.

Her profile on the website of Connections at Metropolitan UMC, where Harrell was senior pastor, said she had been a Methodist all her life and had been a member of Central United Methodist Church for more than 25 years.

Harrell had been a pastor at Rivertown UMC from 2016 to 2018. The church posted a message on Facebook on Thursday announcing her death.

"Unfortunately, and with a truly heavy heart, I have the unpleasant task of relaying some heart-breaking news. I received an email from the district office informing us of the transition of Rev. Marita Harrell. No further details were given," the post reads.

"I know the love Rivertown has for her, and the love she has for Rivertown. We are asked to be in prayer especially for her husband and daughters. Please keep the entire family in your prayers. May God' s comforting arms envelop her family, friends, and loved ones."

Harrell is survived by her parents, her husband of over 27 years and her two teenage daughters.

Update, 5/20/2022 5:28 a.m. EDT: This article has been updated to offer more details on the case.

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The body of a Georgia pastor was found in a van in DeKalb County. Police have not yet arrested the suspect in her death. ANDRI TAMBUNAN/AFP via Getty Images