(Photo: Screen Grab via obits.dignitymemorial.com)
Link Ellingson, 55, the beloved man who died in a hospital six months after a fight with youth pastor Robert Cox in Las Vegas, was once a committed Christian who reportedly abandoned his faith for the ways of the world, according to Cox's father-in-law and pastor, Mike Dillman.
In an interview with The Christian Post Monday, Dillman, who is senior pastor at The Place of Refuge Church in Manteca, California, said just two days after the controversial fight between Cox and Ellingson, the dead man's older brother and committed Christian Blake Ellingson, revealed in a Facebook post that his family was praying that God would use the tragedy to bring him back to the Lord.
"Link and his wife were married in an Assemblies of God church a number of years ago where we understand that Link was a committed believer," Dillman told CP.
"Two days after this incident, his brother, Blake, flew from Texas to be by Link's side and posted on Facebook, 'We, as a family, have been praying for Link to come back to Christ; and if this incident is what it's going to take to turn him around and get him ready for eternity, we as a family would consider it well worth what has unfolded,'" said Dillman.
A review of Blake Ellingson's Facebook page by CP revealed snapshots of a heartbreaking six months of praying, crying and cheering for Link's survival by his family and friends, but the post cited by Dillman was not readily available.
Only one post by Blake Ellingson is highlighted exactly two days after the controversial June 13, 2013, fight on his Facebook page and it is a prayer request for his younger brother.
"Prayer request. ... My 'little' brother, Link, has a serious head injury and is currently in Trauma ICU in Las Vegas where he lives. He is sedated and on a ventilator, and we're working on getting him to respond to spoken requests to open his eyes, give us a thumbs up, etc. He's relatively stable and it's still early in the process, so we're trying to be patient and prayerful. Please say a prayer for my brother, he's loved by many, and we want him back with us, Lord willing," he noted.
Efforts were also made to contact members of Ellingson's immediate and extended family for comment, but responses were not yet available at the time this report was published.
Link Ellingson's obituary posted on the website of Palm Northwest Mortuary and Cemetery confirmed that he and his wife, Marie, were married at Assembly of God Church of Pahrump, Nevada, on Sept. 8, 1984.
Pastor Dillman noted that he believes Link was a troubled man because of his spiritual condition and suggested he could have been under demonic influence the night he attacked his son-in-law.
"That man had a stirring in his spirit probably motivated by demon powers, hatred and vengeance," said Dillman. "He created a war and ended up dead."
A Facebook post from Link's widow, Marie, also suggested that Blake Ellingson's comment could have been removed to protect his reputation.
"Hello all of my wonderful family and friends! First of all, I want all of you to know how much you mean to me. I feel honored to have you in my life. As you know from TV and other sources a lot has been happening with Link's case. Please, let's all be kind and thoughtful of what we say on Facebook and other media," she warned.
"Some comments just do not help us in this situation. Whatever the outcome. Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts. Call me anytime. God is good and his will will prevail. It's coming up on a year Friday, June 13! It's all becoming "raw" again. I LOVE YOU LINK AND MISS YOU SO MUCH!" noted Link's grieving widow.
Pastor Cox was arrested and charged with Link's murder last Tuesday and was released from the San Joaquin County Jail on Monday after posting $100,000 bail.
He will travel to Las Vegas on Friday to enter a not guilty plea to the murder charges, according to his Las Vegas attorney, Warren Geller.