Mobile, AL – On Monday night, Anthony Hopkins, 37, preached forgiveness at a church revival in Jackson.Â Seven of his eight children sat on the front row, and Hopkins looked his kids over and asked them to forgive him for his sins, “past, present, and future.” Right after church,Â Hopkins was arrested for incest, rape and sodomy against his daughter and for the murder of his wife, Arletha, who was found frozen in the family home while Hopkins was preaching his sermon.Â Â Â She’d been there for as long as three years.Â
The family home at 258 Rylands Lane was a quiet one, mostly.Â There was music, but everyone knew that was because Anthony Hopkins was an evangelist.Â What they didn’t know is that Hopkins was routinely raping at least his oldest daughter.Â They also didn’t know that Anthony Hopkins’ wife and the mother of his children was dead in a large freezer.Â Â That’s how you teach the kids to behave in the Hopkins house.
Hopkins’ oldest daughter wasn’t at Monday night’s revival.Â She wasn’t there because instead, she went to the Child Advocacy Center and told them that her father had been raping her for years.Â Â She also told them where her mother’s body could be found – in a freezer in a utility shed behind the house.
While Hopkins was preaching his sermon on forgiveness, while his other children, teenagers down to age four,Â were dutifully singing and playing instruments, police were being led to Arletha Hopkins’ frozen corpse.Â It was just where the oldest girl said it would be, wrapped in a sheet, frozen solid.
Arletha Hopkins was never reported missing, and no family of hers has yet been located. All eight Hopkins children were homeschooled, and Anthony Hopkins worked as an itinerant evangelist, spreading the word of God between sessions in his daughter’s bed.Â Â Pastors at the churches where Hopkins preached were told that Arletha Hopkins had died giving birth to the couple’s youngest son, now four.Â Â I guess they weren’t told she was in the freezer.
The oldest daughter says that her father murdered her mother, and police believe her.Â After all, no death report or 911 call was ever made.Â It seems that Arletha Hopkins died with nobody but her children to mourn her. Police say it will be several days for the body to thaw enough even for positive identification.
Hopkins was arrested and taken to Mobile County Metro Jail, where he is charged with rape, sodomy, and first degree murder.Â He is being held without bond, and the investigation at the Rylands Lane home is continuing.Â All eight of the Hopkins children are now in the custody of the Department of Human Resources.