Catholic Priest Found Slain In California Church Rectory - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Catholic Priest Found Slain In California Church Rectory

From: CNN From: CNN

(CNN) -- A beloved Roman Catholic priest was found dead Wednesday in his church's rectory, spurring police to launch a murder investigation and those he touched to try to make sense of his sudden passing.

Eureka, California, Police Chief Andy Mills said officers -- responding to a call from staff at St. Bernard Church -- first came across the victim around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He did not elaborate on how the death occurred, adding Wednesday night that there were no suspects.

Mayor Frank Jager identified the victim as the Rev. Eric Freed, whom he called a personal friend and a "tremendous person in this community" since his arrival three years ago. The St. Bernard Parish website featured a cross and the words, "Rest in Peace," above Freed's name.

"He was a really, genuinely warm individual," said professor Stephen Cunha, the chairman of Humboldt University's religious studies department where Freed taught for more than 10 years. "... Kind is the word that comes to mind, sensitive."

Noting that students at the state university loved Freed -- who was also deeply involved in that school's Catholic student group, the Newman Center -- Cunha added: "This was not some stuffy clergyman. He was very much someone that you could sit down and speak with... He connected with everybody."

Local and state authorities remained at St. Bernard Church -- one of two in the coastal Northern California city situated 275 miles north of San Francisco where he was the sole pastor -- late Wednesday processing the crime scene and following up on tips, Mills said.

Those efforts include looking for Freed's vehicle, a 2010 Nissan Altima. The police chief said that authorities had no solid leads.

Just a few days ago, the priest sent a note to his parishioners thanking them for their support and prayers and wishing them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

"I cannot tell you how proud and honored I am to be your pastor,"Freed wrote in a letter posted on the parish website. "Our parish is alive, joyful and full of faith, hope and charity that define us as Catholic Christians."

While he was relatively new to St. Bernard, Freed had already made an impact there and elsewhere around Eureka -- including with the city's Japanese-American community, as Freed lived in Japan for many years -- Jager told reporters.

"This is an absolutely tremendous loss not only for the St. Bernard's Parish, but for our community generally," the mayor said. "For those of us who believe in prayer, this is the time for that."

His ties to Humbodt State went back even longer. A guest lecturer, Freed wrote a book about the first atomic bomb and also taught about the New Testament, connecting with Christians and non-Christians alike.

"He was very well respected, very well liked and had a tremendous working knowledge as well as academic knowledge," Cunha said. "... To think that he passed in this way: It's just layers of grief and shock."

By: Greg Botelho, CNN

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Local father dies in fiery crash after purchasing daughter's Christmas gifts

    Local father dies in fiery crash after purchasing daughter's Christmas gifts

    Monday, December 11 2017 12:02 AM EST2017-12-11 05:02:49 GMT
    Selkirk Fire Rescue & EMSSelkirk Fire Rescue & EMS

    PRIEST RIVER, Idaho - A local father is dead after a fiery crash in North Idaho Friday night. Loved ones said the man had just purchased Christmas presents for his little girl before the horrific wreck. Idaho State Police said 29-year-old Andrew Blum and his 32-year-old passenger were driving near Dufort Road when Blum lost control of his car. They said he flipped it into a ditch, and then the vehicle caught on fire. Blum was rushed to 

    >>

    PRIEST RIVER, Idaho - A local father is dead after a fiery crash in North Idaho Friday night. Loved ones said the man had just purchased Christmas presents for his little girl before the horrific wreck. Idaho State Police said 29-year-old Andrew Blum and his 32-year-old passenger were driving near Dufort Road when Blum lost control of his car. They said he flipped it into a ditch, and then the vehicle caught on fire. Blum was rushed to 

    >>
  • Toddler signs for help while sitting on Santa's lap

    Toddler signs for help while sitting on Santa's lap

    Sunday, December 10 2017 7:43 PM EST2017-12-11 00:43:17 GMT

    OWING MILLS, Md.  - A family in Maryland is going viral after they brought their 1-year-old son to take a photo with Santa Claus and the results are hilarious. Kerry Spencer tweeted out the photo last week. She captioned it, "We taught our baby sign language. This is the sign for 'help.' You're welcome."

    >>

    OWING MILLS, Md.  - A family in Maryland is going viral after they brought their 1-year-old son to take a photo with Santa Claus and the results are hilarious. Kerry Spencer tweeted out the photo last week. She captioned it, "We taught our baby sign language. This is the sign for 'help.' You're welcome."

    >>
  • Coeur d'Alene man killed in crash after sliding down I-90 embankment

    Coeur d'Alene man killed in crash after sliding down I-90 embankment

    Sunday, December 10 2017 1:00 PM EST2017-12-10 18:00:01 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Idaho State Police report one person was killed and two others hospitalized after a crash on Interstate 90 Saturday night. It happened at milepost 34.5 at around 8:15 p.m. Investigators say Gregory Vandouris, 52, was driving westbound on I-90 in the passing lane, when he swerved to the right and slid off the right roadside.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Idaho State Police report one person was killed and two others hospitalized after a crash on Interstate 90 Saturday night. It happened at milepost 34.5 at around 8:15 p.m. Investigators say Gregory Vandouris, 52, was driving westbound on I-90 in the passing lane, when he swerved to the right and slid off the right roadside.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Friday, December 8th

    Mad Minute stories from Friday, December 8th

    Friday, December 8 2017 4:13 PM EST2017-12-08 21:13:09 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, December 8th.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, December 8th.

    >>
  • The Latest: Trump says his agenda 'cannot afford' Moore loss

    The Latest: Trump says his agenda 'cannot afford' Moore loss

    Friday, December 8 2017 10:54 PM EST2017-12-09 03:54:59 GMT

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):    9:05 p.m. President Donald Trump is urging voters to elect embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore in next week's Alabama Senate race in spite of sexual misconduct allegations. Trump says at a rally in nearby Pensacola, Florida, that he needs more Republicans in the House and Senate to help him pass his agenda. He says the GOP "cannot afford to lose a seat in the very...

    >>

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):    9:05 p.m. President Donald Trump is urging voters to elect embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore in next week's Alabama Senate race in spite of sexual misconduct allegations. Trump says at a rally in nearby Pensacola, Florida, that he needs more Republicans in the House and Senate to help him pass his agenda. He says the GOP "cannot afford to lose a seat in the very...

    >>
  • PHOTOS: Dog 'arrested' for slain elf on the shelf

    PHOTOS: Dog 'arrested' for slain elf on the shelf

    Friday, December 8 2017 8:58 PM EST2017-12-09 01:58:37 GMT
    Shane Ferrari For SheriffShane Ferrari For Sheriff

    SAN JUAN, NM - A Sheriff's Office in New Mexico is investigating a holiday horror after an employee's family awoke to a "gruesome scene" of a slain elf on the shelf. Shane Ferrari, a candidate running for Sheriff of San Juan, took to his Facebook page to post the breaking news. "Suspect in custody," Ferrari posted along with a makeshift mugshot of Josie, the Ferrari family's beloved dog who also was nicknamed "The Mutt" in the 

    >>

    SAN JUAN, NM - A Sheriff's Office in New Mexico is investigating a holiday horror after an employee's family awoke to a "gruesome scene" of a slain elf on the shelf. Shane Ferrari, a candidate running for Sheriff of San Juan, took to his Facebook page to post the breaking news. "Suspect in custody," Ferrari posted along with a makeshift mugshot of Josie, the Ferrari family's beloved dog who also was nicknamed "The Mutt" in the 

    >>