Two Religious Sisters Slain in Their Mississippi Home

The sisters, both nurse practitioners, were scheduled to work at Lexington Medical Clinic but never came to work Thursday, prompting their co-workers to call the police.

Two Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents inspect a car in the garage of the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, Aug. 25. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said their were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing.
Two Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents inspect a car in the garage of the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, Aug. 25. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said their were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (photo: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. — Two religious sisters were found murdered in their Mississippi home today, according to police.

The sisters, both nurse practitioners, were scheduled to work at Lexington Medical Clinic but never came to work Thursday morning, prompting their co-workers to call the police.

According to a statement from the Diocese of Jackson, the bodies have not been positively identified by authorities, but are believed to be those of Sister Paula Merrill, of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky, and Sister Margaret Held, of the Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee.

Authorities said that it appears the sisters were shot at their home in Durant, Miss. While no motive is known at the time, police said it appears they are victims of homicide.

“These sisters have spent years of dedicated service here in Mississippi. They absolutely loved the people in their community,” said Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson.

“We mourn with the people of Lexington and Durant and we pray for the Sisters of Charity, the School Sisters of St. Francis and the families left behind,” he added.

“These were the two sweetest sisters you could imagine. It’s so senseless,” Father Greg Plata, OFM, told a reporter on the scene.

Durant police and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident.

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