AULANDER, N.C. (WNCT) – Aulander is a town with less than 900 people. Some of those people came together at their community building Wednesday to pay their respect and offer prayers for the victims of a stabbing that happened Monday night.
Lan Thi Rawles, 80, died and Rochelle Harrell, 62, who was Rawles’ caregiver, is recovering at ECU Health Medical Center. Many residents around the Aulander Community Building mourned, grieved and remembered Rawles.
“Ms. Rawls, ever since I was a little boy, she was a great, great community figure,” said Bertie County Commissioner Corey Ballance, Sr. “She exercised a lot with her friends, she would walk with her friends, she would always offer a smile and wave hello, you know?”
Residents said everyone in the community knew Rawles very well and was family to everybody.
“To know that she died such a senseless death is devastating,” said Aulander resident Lori Morings. “Our community will heal, but at the same time, she will always be in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to embrace this tragedy.”
The town of Aulander is looking to fill the police chief position, which became vacant three weeks ago when the then-police chief resigned. Ballance said he hopes this is a time of coming together.
“Anytime you have a lack of law enforcement you can expect crime to increase. And you know I hope that that be a situation that gets resolved soon, but we as a community still have to come together,” said Ballance.
While the prayer vigil didn’t provide answers, those who attended said it did offer hope and support.