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Crime

Missing Church Usher, 75, Found Dead in Trash Bin After Failing to Show Up for Service

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Howard Poche
GoFundMe

A 75-year-old Louisiana man was reported missing on Christmas Day and discovered dead two days later in a trash bin on his back porch, PEOPLE confirms.

A 23-year-old man has since been accused of his murder. Jeffery Lee Marks was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing Howard Poche in Jeanerette, Louisiana.

Members of Poche’s church congregation called authorities soon after he failed to show up for an 8 a.m. Christmas mass. A well-known member of the community, Poche reportedly rode his bike to church every Sunday morning and volunteered as an usher.

Court records show Marks is being held without bail. Authorities said it appears Marks did not know Poche, according to The Advocate.

A bloody knife was found in Poche’s home, which also had other evidence of blood, according to the paper.

Police believe they’ve determined a motive in the killing, but are not releasing that information at this time. They said they were tipped off to Marks’ alleged involvement by an anonymous source, the Advocate reports.

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Jeffery Lee Marks
beria Parish Sheriff's Office

Authorities arrived at Poche’s home to find his housekeeper, Michele King, allegedly cleaning up a “considerable amount of blood,” according to court records.

King has also been taken into custody but on unrelated charges, according to court records. Police say it is possible King could face charges connected to Poche’s slaying. She and Marks reportedly know each other, according to the Advocate.

It was unclear if either King or Marks has entered a plea or retained an attorney. The investigation is ongoing.

Poche’s family could not be reached. “Howard was a person that everyone in Jeanerette knew and just a good person to everyone,” one friend told the Advocate.