Authorities treating Chatham pastor’s death as homicide

| October 23, 2009

CHATHAM – About five hours after a 911 call was placed with authorities Friday morning, Oct. 23, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi confirmed the death of the Rev. Edward Hinds, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Chatham, is the subject of a homicide investigation.

Morris County SWAT teams are conducting a careful search of Oliver Street residential properties near the church Friday afternoon, looking for evidence and a weapon.

The body of Rev. Hinds, 61, was found in the rectory of St. Patrick Church on Chatham Street on Friday morning.

Authorities estimated the time of death as between 11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, and 8:03 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23, when the pastor’s body was discovered and the 911 call was placed.

Didn’t Appear For Mass

Police reportedly found the priest dead in the rectory, dressed in his robes, after he failed to show up for 8 a.m. Mass.

Press gathered outside the church Friday morning, and investigators held an initial press conference at 1 p.m., confirming a homicide investigation was under way.

Authorities said the nature of Rev. Hinds’ wounds suggested a homicide, although they did not describe the type of weapon they believe inflicted the wounds.

Bishop Arthur Joseph Serratelli of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, who said he was deeply saddened by the pastor’s death, was among church officials gathered at the scene.

Early Dismissal

A four-block area surrounding St. Patrick Church had been cordoned off since early Friday morning due to the investigation into Rev. Hinds’ death.

E-mails to parents of students at the parish’s grades K-8 St. Patrick School indicated the pastor had been the victim of some sort of accident, and children would be dismissed from school early.

Nearby public schools were immediately put on lockdown Friday morning.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and Chatham Borough police detectives are conducting the investigation.

Tags: , ,

Category: Church Security

Comments are closed.