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Missing Priest located in St. Landry Parish was lost, driving i - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Missing Priest located in St. Landry Parish was lost, driving in US for first time

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This vehicle is similar to the missing one This vehicle is similar to the missing one
Father Julius Ohiaege Father Julius Ohiaege
Father Julius Ohiaege takes photo with law enforcement who helped him / Diocese of Lafayette Father Julius Ohiaege takes photo with law enforcement who helped him / Diocese of Lafayette

A priest who was reported missing yesterday has been located, a spokesman for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office says. 

Father Julius Ohiaege was found northbound on Interstate 49, near the Ville Platte exit, the spokesman said. Motorists spotted the car and called it in to the Sheriff's Office, he said. State Police were called to the priest's location by motorists and assisted in helping him get his bearings and contact his  colleagues.  

Motorists like Fannie Hickman, who says she called police after seeing the vehicle on the roadway and reading the story on KATC.com. She also captured videos while at a red light of Ohiaege passing through the intersection. 

Deputies in the area were able to find the car and pulled the priest over. 

Ohiaege, who is from Nigeria, drove Father Kenneth Domingue's car, a white 2010 Toyota Camry, license plate TNZ489,  to the Lafayette airport on Sunday to drop Fr. Domingue off at about 2 p.m., a spokesman said. 

Speaking with Officials from the Lafayette Diocese, they say that Ohaiege was driving for the first time in the United States. He did stop for directions back to St. Leo Church but the Lafayette Diocese say he got confused. He reportedly did not sleep or eat while he was driving around the area, lost. He filled up his gas tank several times. "He had faith he was going to make it home if he kept driving", officials said.

Fr. Ohiaege hadn't been seen or heard from since, a spokesman said. He is currently assigned to St. Leo Church while Fr. Domingue is away, the spokesman said. Ohiaege is a member of the Claretian Missionaries Religious Congregation in Nigeria, and is temporarily in residence at St. Leo the Great Church in Leonville.

His cell phone was pinged once in Baton Rouge near LSU, and again near Opelousas, but it's now off or the battery isn't charged, the spokesman said. 

Earlier today, Leonville Police Chief Joseph Noel III said he believed Ohiaege was lost. 

"We have no idea where he is, to be honest with you," Noel said. "I think he's just lost."

Father Ohiaege also extended his heartfelt thanks, saying “In every bad thing, there is something good, and I am grateful to everyone for their prayers and support.” 

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