Investigation into death of Father Edward Hinds creates chaotic scene near St. Patrick’s School in Chatham

| October 23, 2009

CHATHAM — Parents continue to wait for the release of their children from St. Patrick's School, while reporters, satellite trucks and photographers stand behind the police tape and barriers that protect the school and Church on Oliver Street.

The unexpected death overnight of Father Edward Hinds, whose body was discovered after he failed to show up to celebrate 8 a.m. mass this morning.

Amy Horowitz, the Independent Press’ photographer described the parents as “frustrated, worried and, in some cases, angry. There are a lot of people taking names and they just want to give their name to the person who will bring their kid out.”

The parents are standing in multiple lines — they give their name to one person, Officer Giannone, and then get in another line to give their name to someone from prosecutor’s office. They are being asked their names and the number of children in the school, she said.

Captain Jeffrey Paul of the Morris County Prosecutor's office said the children are being kept in the gym, with their teachers and other school personnel. They will be released in a methodical way, to their parents.

“By noon only 18 or so children had been released from school,” Horowitz reported.

Parents have been on the scene since shortly after receiving news of the pastor’s death. “Some parents were sent to get ID, because they ran over with their driver’s license. They don’t understand why officials aren’t releasing the children.

Asked by one parent why the children are being released so slowly, Officer Giannone reassured the parent that, “All the kids are safe,” then said “It was not our call” on whether and when to let the children leave.

The school is basically in "lock down." At first it was just a few parents around the school, with more arriving as time passed, "but no one is allowed to enter the parking lot, much less the school. Everything is blocked off with yellow police tape. Chatham Street is blocked off from Lum Avenue to Washington Avenue, said Stacey McEvoy, a parent at the school."Oliver Street, between the church and the rectory, is blocked off, also," she said.

Last night was the St. Patrick's School Safety night – the event drew a wall-to-wall crowd, but not Father Hinds, who usually didn't miss any of these types of events. There were, however, eight Secret Service officers, members of the Chatham Police and the members of the Borough's Emergency Medical Service group. During the event, the children were finger-printed and photos were taken for parents to keep on file.

Tags: , ,

Category: Church Security

Comments are closed.