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For week ended May 30, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

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Cause of Mormon church blast is baffling

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Cause of Mormon church blast is baffling
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 26May99 C6
By Richard Ruelas The Arizona Republic

HEBER, ARIZONA -- The origin of an explosion outside an LDS Chapel in Heber Sunday night is still unknown in spite of the efforts of police and officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The explosion left few leads to its origin and purpose. "We still don't know what it is," said Lawrence Bettendorf, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Agents haven't found signs of a bomb -- a fuse or wrappings, for instance, but they also haven't found anything else.

The explosion blew-out bricks from the building's south entrance and shattered glass. It also brought down part of a patio roof and blew shrapnell inside the buildingor more than 30 feet. The building is located at Mustang Road and Highway 260, about 150 miles northeast of Phoenix.

The Sheriff's Office reports that it is reviewing dozens of leads that were phoned in on Tuesday, but so far no suspect has emerged. In addition to ATF agents, two FBI agents and many deputies from Cochise County and from the state Department of Public Safety are looking at the explosion.

Local LDS Church officials report no threats recently. "I'm still amazed right now," said Bishop Paul Reidhead. "It's just a small community, with excellent outdoor activities, solid families, solid schools and good parental support."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information