Pastor dies after his snake partner bites him during sermon

Published On: Thursday, November 15, 2012 1:08 PM
By: Sarah Weiss
Pastor Mark Wolford died when this snake bit him in the thigh
A "snake handling" West Virginia, pastor died after a rattlesnake bit him during a ritual of the Church, the same man apparently had seen a snake kill his father several years ago.

Pentecostal Pastor Mark Wolford, 44, organized an outdoor service in the area of Panther Wildlife Management in West Virginia on Sunday, which was promoted on its Facebook page before the event.

"I'm looking for a good time this Sunday," Wolford wrote on May 22.
Robin Vanover, Wolford's sister, said that 30 minutes into the service, Wolford showed around a rattlesnake with poison, which finally bit him.

"He left the snake on the ground," Vanover said in the interview, "and he sat next to the snake, and the snake bit him in the thigh."
Vanover said Wolford was then transported to the home of a family member in Bluefield about 80

miles away to recover. But as the situation worsened, he was transferred to a hospital where he later died.

Jim Shires, owner of Cravens Shires Funeral Home in Bluefield, said that Wolford died Monday. Wolford's church, the Apostolic Chamber of the Lord Jesus in Matoaka, will host a visit on Friday and the funeral on Saturday morning. Wolford will be buried in the Hicks family plot in Phelps, Kentucky.
Officials of the Department of Wildlife Management of the panther were not aware of the event on Sunday, until they were notified by callers after the service.