Priest Slain in New Jersey Church

Father Edward Hinds alarmed his congregants when he did not show up for 8 a.m. Mass Friday morning at St. Patrick’s Church. Much to the surprise of the quiet commuter community of Chatham, New Jersey, a deacon and a maintenance worker found the priest dead, right before Mass. Hinds’ body was reportedly found in the kitchen, off a hallway that connects the church and the rectory, according to another priest. He was fully outfitted in formal black garb and had suffered multiple injuries. Prosecutors would not comment explicitly about the specific nature of Hinds’ wounds, but did say they were “consistent with a homicide.” The 61-year-old priest had experienced “excessive trauma,” according to the county prosecutor, suggesting that great force was used in ending Hinds’ life. No suspects have been identified and authorities would not comment on whether or not there were signs of forced entry. The sleepy town’s last homicide, a case of aggravated manslaughter, occurred in 1990. Some parents removed their children from the parish school Friday, The New York Times reports. “This is almost unbelievable,” Chatham Mayor V. Nelson Vaughan said. “I’ve lived here since 1950, and this is the second homicide in town I know of. It’s a peaceful, quiet, friendly town.”