Sister of Suspect in Fort Dodge Reverend’s Murder Speaks Out

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FORT DODGE, Iowa — The family of the man charged with killing the beloved Fort Dodge reverend is saying they are at a complete loss for what has transpired.

Joshua Pendleton is charged with the first-degree murder of Rev. Al Henderson. Joshua Pendleton’s sister said she wanted to express her deepest condolences to Henderson’s family, the St. Paul Lutheran congregation and the entire community.

“I just want the community to know that we’re very sorry. If we could’ve prevented it, we would’ve. I think it was just a big misunderstanding and it got out of control,” Maya Pendleton said.

She said this could have been prevented.

“His friends and family have all reached out trying to get him the help he needs,” she said. “I think it was just a big misunderstanding and it got out of control. I do not believe my brother was intending to hurt anybody.”

Fort Dodge police confirmed that Pendleton’s friends and family had called with concerns about him in recent weeks. Channel 13 put in a request to obtain records of those phone calls.

Capt. Ryan Gruenberg said he could not detail the content of those calls but said there is not much law enforcement could have done to help prevent this. He said the department struggles with cases like these.

“If it’s just disruptive behavior and things of that nature, it’s all in the detail, and we can only take things so far with what’s happened at that point and offer so many resources at that point,” Gruenberg said.

Police are still investigating the events leading up to the fatal assault. Gruenberg said they are trying to look for surveillance video and examine other factors that might point to what caused this tragedy.

“The incident has shocked a lot of us in what happened,” he said. “You kind of think that a pastor of all people is the last person to be an intended target, so it certainly is difficult to kinda process that as to what may have motivated him to do what he did.”


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