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Robbers kill teacher, injure pastor in house fire; search underway for suspects

John and Nancy Alford (Photo: CNN Newsource via WTVR)

LITTLETON, N.C. (WSET) -- A Virginia minister's wife was killed Friday after police said she was kidnapped, robbed, and later tied up with her husband and left in a burning house.

John Alford is the pastor of Sanford Memorial Baptist Church, Brodnax, Virginia.

WNCN in Charlotte reported that the deadly crime scene was discovered when firefighters were called to the the couple's neighborhood, just south of the Virginia border, in Littleton, North Carolina.

Warren County Sheriff Johnny Williams told WNCN that Nancy Alford and John arrived to their home around 9 a.m. to two masked intruders.

One of the intruders stayed with the husband and one drove Nancy to the bank and forced her to withdraw around $1,000 from an ATM, Sheriff Williams said, and once the suspect returned with Nancy, he said the two suspect beat her husband, tied them up, and then set the house on fire.

John was able to escape and was airlifted to the hospital.

WRAL reported that neighbors found John wounded and bleeding outside and they had to stop him from running into the burning home.

The sheriff's office said the robbers fled in the couple's gray 2010 Mercedes, but it has since been recovered.

The church where John has been a pastor for the past 10 years posted on Facebook that he suffered 2nd degree burns, smoke inhalation, and there was difficulty keeping him hydrated.

Johns' wife Nancy taught Sunday School at the church; the church held a prayer service for the Alford family over the weekend.

So far, the sheriff's office has not released description of the suspects because they said their faces were covered.

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