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CA: Priest found murdered in church rectory

NBC/KIEM
CrimeTracker

POSTED: Thursday, January 2, 2014 - 1:06pm

UPDATED: Thursday, January 2, 2014 - 2:04pm

A murder investigation is underway in Eureka as the community learns about the death of Rev. Eric Freed of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church.

Eureka’s Police Chief Any Mills said they were dispatched to the Rectory around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning after church staff found Rev. Freed deceased inside of the rectory.

Officers would not confirm whom church staff found inside, but City of Eureka Mayor Frank Jager said it was Rev. Eric Freed, who’s been an influential part of the community for the past three years.

"Everybody knows it was Father Eric, and Father Eric was a friend of mine. He was a tremendous person in this community," said Mayor Jager.

A man who Mayor Jager said was heavy involved in the Japanese community,

"He was multi-lingual, just a tremendous person and this is an absolutely tremendous loss not only for the St. Bernard’s parish, but for our community in general."

While community members mourn the loss, police are still searching for answers, only saying that a violent crime had taken place,

Chief Mills said, “Since it was not a normal circumstance or what we would expect in a normal death investigation, investigators have been called with as much expertise to make sure this investigation is thorough, complete, and timely."

No suspects or persons of interest have been identified but Mayor Jager said,

"Those of us that believe in prayer, this is the time for that, and I hope we can find out who did this.”
Police officials are not releasing any information on the crime scene itself or the circumstances that led up to the murder.

He says it is still too early in their investigation.

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