A suspect in the alleged murder led police to Rev. Robert Rene's body in Georgia

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated April 19, 2016 10:00 AM
St. John's Co. Sheriff's Office

The body of Florida Priest Rev. Rene Robert has been found in Burke County, Georgia, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press conference on Monday – just over a week after the 71-year-old went missing.

An alleged suspect in Robert’s death, Steven James Murray, 28, was arrested last Thursday and will soon be charged in Georgia with first degree murder in the coming days, Sheriff David Shoar said at the press conference.

Murray was named a person of interest last Wednesday and detained on Thursday in Aiken, South Carolina, by local authorities after he was allegedly spotted driving Robert’s car. Following a foot chase, police dogs and helicopters allegedly tracked Murray down in a nearby wooded area. He was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude.

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While in custody, Murray allegedly led detectives to what has been informally identified as Robert’s body. Shoar said that police believe the homicide occurred in Georgia, and said Murray’s alleged motive is still unknown.

Robert was a senior Roman Catholic priest for the St. Augustine Diocese.

“He did something that a lot more people should do and that is spend his life dedicated to helping people that are far less fortunate than most of us,” Shoar, who was close with the priest, said on Monday. “Never asked for credit, never asked for recognition, he just did it.”

Shoar noted that Robert often worked with convicts and said that there was a “risk factor” associated with the priest’s mission.