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Police searching for 2 who torched LDS missionary car

By Nkoyo Iyamba | Posted - Mar. 15, 2012 at 7:54 p.m.


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ST. GEORGE — Not much is left of a car driven by a pair of missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On Tuesday around 12:30 a.m., a neighbor called police after seeing two people run away from the burning vehicle on the 1000 North block of 2050 East in St. George.

The witness told investigators one of the suspects was carrying what looked to be a gas can as he or she ran from the burning vehicle and got into a compact silver passenger car.

Brett Barrett attends a Spanish-speaking LDS congregation with Elders Robinson and Johnson, the victims of the arson.

"We asked them if they thought it was personal. Elder (Robinson) said he believed they were being targeted," Barrett said. "There wasn't any concrete evidence of it, but just all the circumstances of they picked that car on that street at that time."

Barrett said the missionaries seemed to be in pretty good spirits.

"Elder Robinson has the attitude of, 'Well if something like that doesn't happen, it's really not a mission,'" Barrett said.

Barrett is additionally concerned because his own son enters the Missionary Training Center next week.

"It's the kind of thing that makes mom and dad get nervous, but the elders will definitely be having a good laugh about it in a short period of time," he said.

Meanwhile, St. George police are investigating.

"Is this a religious hate crime? Right now we have nothing that supports that, but we're not it out," said Capt. James Van Fleet.

He said investigators have few leads to go on. Anyone with information about this case should contact detective Adam Olmstead of the St. George Police Department at 435- 627-4319.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-duc

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Nkoyo Iyamba

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