Priest burned beyond recognition in suspected horror murder blaze

A retired Catholic priest was murdered and had his body "burned beyond recognition", authorities have claimed.

Father Otis Young, 71, was identified as one of two murder victims found in downtown Covington, Louisiana, USA, the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's office confirmed.

Covington Police Department confirmed in a statement on Facebook that officers found two apparent homicide victims burned on Monday (November 28).

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While the coroner's office said that Young's death is being ruled as a homicide due to blunt and sharp force trauma, the other victim has yet to be identified, but is also being ruled as a homicide.

St. Tammany Parish coroner Charles Preston told WVUE that DNA evidence is of paramount importance for the coroner's office who hope to use the tool to identify the other victim by the end of the week.

NOLA.com reported that Young had been a pastor at St. Peter Catholic Church for 10 years before retiring in June 2021.

Police said that Antonio Donde Tyson, 49, of Covington, was arrested and charged with with two counts each of first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, and obstruction of justice, and one count each of resisting an officer and illegal possession of stolen things.

A funeral mass will be held next Monday (December 5) in honour of Father Young with Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans officiating.

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Aymond expressed his shock of what occurred in Covington as he offered prayers for both victims.

"The horror of the events that have unfolded here in Covington is beyond shocking," Aymond said.

"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."

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