COVINGTON, La. — Thursday afternoon investigators laid out a timeline of when they believe Father Otis Young and Pastoral Associate Ruth Prats crossed paths with their accused killer, Antonio Tyson.
Covington police say there is no evidence Tyson knew the victims prior to Sunday and a possible motive hasn't been released.
"She was an angel on earth," said one of Prats' relatives, Jim Moorman.
Prats was known by many as a devoted pastoral associate at St. Peter Catholic Church. To her family, she was known as much more.
"An amazing mother," Moorman said. "An incredible devoted grandmother to eight young people and recently very overjoyed to meet her first great grandchild."
"They called her Mimi and it's just heartbreaking," Prats' son-in-law, Tim Brown said.
Tuesday, St. Tammany Parish Coroner, Dr. Charles Preston, identified Prats as the second victim in the Covington double homicide.
"These are painful and shocking losses for us all. Father Otis and Ruth gave of themselves and service to the people of God," St. Peter Catholic Church's Father Daniel Brouillette said.
Dr. Preston said he used surgery records to identify Fr. Otis, comparing the surgical records to his remains.
"We took the chest x ray we obtained here, his post op x-ray and the wires lined up exactly so that was a unique identifying factor. We didn't have that benefit to identify Ms. Ruth so we had to go to DNA. In this case it was straight forward because we knew who her daughter was," Coroner Dr. Charles Preston said. "We had that result in 26 hours and we were able to get that result because the DNA lab is down the hall."
Fr. Otis died of sharp and blunt force trauma. Prats died of blunt force trauma, Dr. Preston said.
"We know you're all hurting because we at the Covington P.D. are hurting also," Covington Police Chief Mike Ferrell said.
Police shared this investigation began Sunday evening just after 7 p.m. when Prats car was involved in a hit and run, but no one was able to reach her, and her phone was pinged in a dumpster.
Around 3:40 a.m. Monday the car was spotted at a Walgreens with Tyson and a woman inside the vehicle. The woman was taken in for questioning but was released when police determined she was not involved in the crime.
The bodies were discovered just before 6 a.m. Monday behind a business in downtown Covington.
As investigators began searching for surveillance video, they learned Tyson rode his bike past Prats' home Sunday afternoon then briefly spoke with her and Fr. Otis. Police said the video showed him later show back up with a knife. At 6:30 p.m., video showed him drive away in her car.
"At this point we don’t have any evidence or proof to say they had any relationship or knew them prior to this incident," Lt. Kevin Collins with the Covington Police Department said.
As police continue their investigation, families and friends of Fr. Otis and Ruth Prats are focusing on the legacies they leave behind.
Fr. Brouillette said Fr. Otis worked as a CPA for years, but felt called to become a priest in his 40's.
"He had a laugh and personality that was four times his size. He would listen, he would pray, he would celebrate, mourn, heal," Fr. Brouillette said who also deeply admired Prats. "Just a beautiful soul. Dedicated, dedicated to the life of the church."
The two were dear friends. Prats took care of Fr. Otis after he suffered a stroke.
"Physical therapy, she would take him to grocery, she was a caretaker and we suspect that Sunday they got together to go to her house and watch the Saints game,” Brown said.
As many in Covington ask what they can do, Fr. Brouillette asks for prayers.
"We know when we die the prayers of the faithful that are here are still so important so please continue to pray for them," he said.
A funeral for Fr. Otis Young is set for Monday, December 5, 2022 at Noon in St. Peter Catholic Church. The celebrant will be Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Visitation will take place in church from 9 a.m. to Noon.
Prats' family is still working on funeral arrangements.