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Catholic priest was found murdered in his California church rectory

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The body of Catholic priest, Father Eric Freed was found in the rectory of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church Wednesday morning. Police are investigating and treating the death as a murder according to a Jan. 1 report on NBC News.

The priest’s body was found in the rectory of the church which is located in Eureka, in Humboldt County. Police were contacted after staffers found him around 9 a.m. according to Police Chief Andrew Mills.

The police shared very little information about the investigation. They have no in custody at this time and are actively looking for Freed’s dark gray Nissan Altima hybrid.

In what was one of his last messages to his parishioners, Freed said his Christmas message that he felt “proud and honored ... to be your pastor." He called the parish “alive, joyful, and full of faith, hope, and charity that define us as Catholic Christians." The written message can be found on the church’s website.

In honor of the pastor, the 7 p.m. Mass was cancelled and a tribute to the religious community leader was posted on the website.

Eureka’s Mayor Frank Jager said that Freed was multilingual and was adored in the northern California town, particularly among the large Japanese community there.

Jager called the murder a tremendous loss not just for the church but for the community as a whole and hoped the culprit of this crime could be found.

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