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Two nuns murdered during home invasion in Mississippi

August 26, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Two nuns murdered during home invasion in Mississippi Sister Paula Merrill pictured right with Margaret Held

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Two nuns found murdered

Authorities say two nuns in Mississippi were brutally murdered in what police believe was a home burglary gone awry.

Durant police discovered the two nuns on Thursday with fatal stab wounds in the residence where the two lived together during a welfare check.

The nuns worked as nurse practitioners, and have been identified as Sister Margaret Held, from the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee, and Sister Paul Merrill, from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, people who knew the Catholic sisters of the faith described them as well-respected and had a great reputation for showing up on time to work at the Lexington Medical Clinic. When they didn’t show up for work on Thursday, their colleagues immediately feared the worst.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Warren Strain, the spokesman for the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation stated: “They have a history of being punctual as far as arriving at work, and they didn’t today.”

When officers arrived at the residence, their car was missing, and police found signs of a break-in at the house, according to a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.

The two victims worked in conjunction with the clinic in their ministry with the poor, and gave out books and school supplies to the underprivileged and also provided healthcare.

Reverand Greg Plata, the pastor who managed the sisters’ church explained, “They were two of the sweetest, most gentle women you can imagine. Their vocation was helping the poor.”

It is not currently clear if the nuns’ religious work was a possible motive for the slaying. Police are still on the hunt for the murderer and are continuing to investigate the scene of the crime.

“I have an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach,” Durant assistant police chief James Lee stated.

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