Police Suspect California Priest Was Murdered

The body of Rev. Eric Freed was discovered after he didn't show up for Mass

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Police are investigating the death of a California priest found in his rectory Wednesday morning as a murder.

Worshippers became concerned when Rev. Eric Freed didn’t show up for Mass Wednesday morning at St. Bernard Church in Eureka, Calif. The church deacon found Rev. Freed unconscious in the rectory, the Eureka Times-Standard reports.

The police have not yet released any details about any suspects or the cause of death, citing an ongoing murder investigation. Later on Wednesday, police responded to an unlawful entry at a different local church, and are investigating whether the two incidents are connected.

Freed was a popular priest who also taught religious studies at Humboldt State University. He spent 20 years living in Japan, and helped translate a book of poems by a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.