COVINGTON, La. — The St. Tammany Parish coroner is currently conducting DNA testing on the second victim in the Covington double murder to to make a positive identification. This comes after two burned bodies were found behind a business in downtown Covington Monday morning.
Coroner Dr. Charles Preston confirmed Tuesday Father Otis Young died of sharp and blunt trauma in the double homicide. His body was found with another body that hasn't been identified by the coroner.
Antonio Tyson who was released from prison in August after serving a rape sentence was arrested for the crime.
Covington police shared Wednesday they believe Tyson acted alone. While a woman was also taken in for questioning, she was released and is not considered a suspect.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond released a statement Wednesday to express his sorrow.
"The horror of the events that have unfolded here in Covington is beyond shocking. The pain, sadness, and disbelief that something like this could happen will stay with us but particularly those who are most directly affected for a very long time," he said in the statement. "We prayerfully remember Fr. Otis, a beloved pastor who touched the lives of so many with his faith, warmth, and pastoral heart."
Young was found a day after he and his pastoral associate Ruth Prats were both reported missing. Prats is still reported missing as the coroner conducts the autopsy on the second victim.
"She was like what I envision as the face of the parish. She was always the first face you saw when you walked in the building," said Gabrielle Hillman who grew up going to St. Peter Catholic Church and schools.
Hillman, a dental hygienist who paints part time, painted a picture of the church several months ago. In response to the tragedy, she's asking for donations of any amount for a print of the painting on cardstock with 100 percent of proceeds going to the families of Father Otis and Ruth Prats.
"In the post I made I said you don’t even have to give money, if you're willing to offer up a prayer or thought for these people," she said. "I think it's about a sense of community."
She's collected more than $2,000 so far to give to the families.
"The generosity has been so overwhelming," Hillman said.
Hillman posted information on her painting to Facebook:
She will organize a Covington pickup location for those who do not choose to ship the item. For those who donate on Venmo, Hillman asks to include ‘St. Peter' in the description.
As the Covington community mourns, Archbishop Aymond shared this in his statement: "For all those who are hurting and asking how this could happen, may I humbly offer that we turn to our Lord Jesus in this time of mourning."
Dr. Preston expects to have the second victim positively identified by the end of the week. At that point, he'll hold a joint press conference with the Covington Police Department to update the investigation.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond's full statement:
The horror of the events that have unfolded here in Covington is beyond shocking. The pain, sadness, and disbelief that something like this could happen will stay with us but particularly those who are most directly affected for a very long time.
Today as we await confirmation of the second victim, I offer my prayers for both victims of this heinous crime. 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.