Last week, Evelyn Player (69) was killed inside Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore, a crime so disturbing that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan directed all state law enforcement agencies to assist Baltimore’s local police department in its investigation, calling it an “all-hands-on-deck effort.”
It happened early Tuesday morning (Nov. 16) around 6:50 A.M., police said. Player was a longtime member of the church, and it wasn’t unusual for her to come early in the morning to pray at the church. She also worked on staff as a church sexton. Player arrived at the church around 6 A.M. A maintenance worker discovered her body around 7:20 A.M.
Player was found inside a bathroom where investigators believes she was attacked, reporting that the trauma to her body resulted in her death.
“Typically, Evelyn would not come as early. We have other male sextons that come to the church. She just beat everybody here. She had been praying all week, praying and crying, and she may have come to the church early to have some time to pray by herself,” Bishop Donte Hickman said. “It’s been unsettling in my spirit and a violation to our home — our home in this community.”
Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott called Player’s killer a “coward” and pleaded with anyone who has information regarding the assailant’s whereabouts to let the authorities know. Scott told the murderer to “man-up” and “turn yourself in.”
Althea Finch, Player’s daughter, spoke with Baltimore’s WBFF News, telling them, “I’m just numb that my mother is gone and that she had to die with someone’s intent to just come into a sacred place and kill her.”
“I don’t even know how to begin to express what it is that I feel. I just know that my heart is shattered into a million pieces, and whoever did this has not only broken my heart [and] my son’s heart, but those who loved her,” Finch continued.
“Her text to me this morning at 6:03 said ‘Good morning. I’m here. Have a great day. I love you.’ I texted back at 6:06 saying, ‘I love you.’ It’s the last message I’ll ever have from my mother,” Finch said. “I have no idea who would want to hurt my mother.”
In light of the crime, Baltimore resident and 53-year-old Kimkur Lee has been devoting his time to ensuring other church members and workers feel safe.
“Church is supposed to be sacred. For somebody to come into a church and take a life, that’s a very evil person. A very evil person,” Lee said.