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With priest, assistant missing, Louisiana parish rocked by discovery of bodies

St. Peter's Church. via stpeterparish.com

Updated Nov. 30 with confirmed identity of slain priest and statement from archdiocese.

A retired priest has been identified as one of two people killed in Covington, Louisiana this week. Authorities are still waiting to confirm the identity of the second victim.

On Nov. 30, autopsy results confirmed that one of two severely burnt bodies discovered blocks from St. Peter Catholic Church is that of Fr. Otis Young.

Young has been missing since Sunday, along with pastoral assistant Ruth Prats.

On Monday, the two bodies were discovered behind a local glass business about half a mile from St. Peter’s church.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans called the news “beyond shocking.”

“Today as we await confirmation of the second victim, I offer my prayers for both victims of this heinous crime,” he said Nov. 30. “In a particular way we prayerfully remember Fr. Otis, a beloved pastor who touched the lives of so many with his faith, warmth, and pastoral heart. This is a loss for our church and for the entire community.”

The archbishop promised prayers and support, encouraging those mourning to turn to Christ in the midst of their suffering.

Aymond will celebrate a funeral Mass for Young on Dec. 5 at St. Peter's.

The parish, which held a prayer vigil Monday evening, said its community has been “devastated” by Young's death.

“We are deeply saddened, and ask that you join us in praying for Fr. Otis and Ruth, who is still listed as a missing person, as well as for their families,” the parish said.

Antonio Donde Tyson, 49, has been arrested in connection with the bodies discovered Monday. Tyson has been booked with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of resisting an officer, and one count of illegal possession of stolen things.

There is one other person of interest also being questioned in connection with the case, NOLA.com reported.

Tyson was released from prison just three months ago. He had served 30 years of a 40-year sentence for forcible rape, armed robbery and burglary conviction, authorities said.

A police investigation is still ongoing, and authorities have not discussed a possible motive for the crime.

Tyson, imprisoned since 1993, does not have a clear connection to Fr. Young or St. Peter Church.

Fr. Young, a former accountant, was ordained a priest in 2001 at 49 years old.

Young had been pastor at St. Peter’s for a decade, before he retired four months ago amid mounting health problems that included a major stroke and heart surgery in 2020.

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