$22,500 reward offered for information leading to arrest in nuns - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

$22,500 reward offered for information leading to arrest in nuns' murder

Sister Paula Merrill and Sister Margaret Held.....(Source: Catholic Diocese of Jackson) Sister Paula Merrill and Sister Margaret Held.....(Source: Catholic Diocese of Jackson)
DURANT, MS (WMC) -

Two nuns were found murdered inside their Holmes County, Mississippi, home on Thursday.

In addition to being nuns in the Catholic Church, Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill were nurse practitioners at Lexington Medical Clinic.

According to Durant Police Department, the nuns’ car went missing from the home they shared on Castalian Springs Road after the killings.

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesperson Warren Strain said the car was found behind a grocery store on Mill Street late Thursday night, roughly a mile from the nuns’ home.

"Naturally we are deeply hurting on this, but these are two women of great faith of the gospel. They came here to Mississippi to outreach to the poor using their medical services," Father Gregory Plata, who knew the women well and was a friend to the victims, said.

The two women who gave their lives every day to help Mississippi residents also had a hand in Memphis. 

"They lived according to the gospel."

The two were part of a Catholic peace group called Pax Christi. That is where Judy and Jerry Bettice met the women 30 years ago.

"They were generous and quiet and full of hospitality."

It's hospitality that friends said the women showed everyday. They said the duo focused on helping those in poverty.

"They fulfilled that mission in their lives," Bettice said.

Now, they said it is time for people to remember how they lived their lives and not how they died.

"They did give their lives and it was probably all at once when they died, but they gave their life everyday," Bettice said.

However, these friends said they are not only praying for Sister Merill and Sister Held, but they are also praying for the person who took their lives. They said both of these women believed in justice with mercy.

"I don't know what the result will be, but whoever committed this brutal act, I pray for that person," Bettice said.

Authorities are offering a $22,500 reward for any information that could help police catch the person(s) responsible for killing Held and Merrill.

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