MOORE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — An 87-year-old woman died as a direct result of the attack on two Moore County substations in December, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Karin Zoanelli, then 87, of Pinehurst, died on Dec. 4, 2022. She had a chronic lung disease and required the use of an oxygen machine at night. The report states her death was the direct result of “disablement of the oxygen concentrator in a power outage reportedly resulting from a criminal high-powered rifle attack on a regional electrical distribution substation.”
“While the decedent succumbed to her pre-existing natural disease, the preceding failure of her oxygen concentrator as a result of a power outage precipitated her demise through exacerbation of her breathing insufficiency. And since the power outage involved reportedly occurred in the setting of a criminal firearm attack on the regional electrical distribution substation, the manner of death is best classified as Homicide.”
Zoanelli’s passing is the only death confirmed by officials to be directly resulting from last year’s substation attack so far.
The investigation so far
The FBI, Moore County Sheriff’s Office and Governor Cooper’s office are offering a combined $75,000 in reward money for information that leads to an arrest in connection to the shootings. Additionally, the FBI is offering $25,000 each for information that leads to an arrest in the shootings of two other North Carolina substations.
Three weeks before the Moore County attack, a Carteret-Craven Electrical Cooperative substation in Jones County was shot into, leaving thousands of customers without power for a few hours. Then in January, just over a month after Moore County, an EnergyUnited substation in Randolph County was shot into, but no one lost power.
No arrests have been made in connection to these shootings, but multiple groups with neo-Nazi ties have been arrested and tried for planning similar attacks across the country, and a substation shooting in 2013 in California remains unsolved, with documents about the shooting allegedly circulated in private neo-Nazi oriented chats days prior to the Moore County shooting, according to a Raw Story report.
Two weeks after the shootings in Moore County, on the eve of Hannukah, a banner with explicitly neo-Nazi language was hung up on a highway overpass, with a link to a Telegram channel that included a post of what appeared to be a graphic of a substation and the same language of “bring it all down” that was shared within days of the Jones County shooting. The banners are being investigated separately from the shootings.
In June, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that strengthens penalties for people convicted of attacking critical infrastructure like substations.
FOX8 has reached out for comment from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office on how Zoanelli’s death might impact their ongoing investigation.