St. Augustine (Agenzia Fides) - Father Rene Wayne Robert, a priest of the Diocese of Saint Augustine in Florida, 71, who disappeared last week, was found dead in Georgia, on Monday, April 18, as informs the police in an official report, news of which was sent to Agenzia Fides.
"The priest's body, Rene Wayne Robert was found in Waynesboro, after the man who was arrested while driving the priest’s car, led the police on the spot", said the sheriff of the county of St. Johns, David Shoar in a press conference. Investigators think that Fr. Robert was killed on April 10, when he was last seen. The cause of his death is yet to be determined, but for Shoar "it is obvious that he was the victim of a violent murderer". Shoar knew Fr. Robert and described him as "a dear friend to all".
Fr. Robert Rene Wayne carried out his pastoral ministry in prisons since 1980, when he arrived in St. Augustine area along with other Franciscan friars. When several years later the Franciscans were called elsewhere, Fr. Robert chose to remain in order to continue his assistance to prisoners. In 1995, he was incardinated in the Diocese of St. Augustine and continued his commitment in favor of the marginalized.
The alleged murderer, Steven Jaimes Murray, 28, was arrested by the police in Aiken, South Carolina, after a thrilling car chase, while he was driving the priest’s car, on which he was carrying several firearms, probably stolen. He had just been released from Duval County jail following a previous arrest. It appears that Murray had met the priest to ask him for money, many knew that Fr. Robert offered help to ex-prisoners and unemployed.
According to the statement sent to Agenzia Fides by the Diocese of Saint Augustine, Fr. Robert "was a humble and generous servant of the Lord, and he shared his many gifts to the poor, the community of the deaf, prisoners. He will be remembered for his kindness and his endless love for them". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 20/04/2016)