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Woman accused of trying to set fire at Jehovah's Witnesses hall being held without bond

Molotov cocktail used at Jehovah's Witnesses hall
Posted at 6:18 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 15:38:03-05

GLEN BURNIE, Md. — She had sat outside in the parking lot for an hour, when police say 43-year-old Heather Meisel got out of her car, walked up to the front door of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Glen Burnie, broke out the glass and tossed a Molotov cocktail inside before walking away.

"We can't speculate what's going through the individual's mind, but we just want to make sure that everyone is fine,” said Tony Tait, a congregation spokesperson, “and we're continuing to be a peace-abiding, family-oriented congregation that truly loves one another."

Meisel refused to participate in her bail review hearing in Glen Burnie on Tuesday, but we are learning more about the background of the alleged arsonist.

Police arrested her outside the home where she grew up in Catonsville, and neighbors say she and her entire family were active in the Jehovah's Witnesses, dressing up and trying to spread their faith, door-to-door until their hall, just two miles from their home, on Power Lane closed, making way for an Islamic mosque still active there today.

According to charging documents, she was carrying a black, very real looking air-soft gun and a fixed blade knife on her at the time, and police had to physically restrain her at the scene where she claimed she was royalty and could not be detained by law enforcement.

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A glance at Meisel's Facebook page suggests three days before the attempted arson fire, she posted she had started a new job as a minister with the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testament in Heaven, which is a reference to the Book of Revelations in the Bible.

On her initial appearance questionnaire following her arrest, she also listed her alias or maiden name as "mission critical" raising questions over what the divorcee and mother to a 14-year-old son hoped to achieve by targeting a place of worship with fire, knowing there were people inside it at the time.

Meisel is currently being held without bond.