NewsAcadia Parish


Diocese releases statement on skeletal remains discovered near Rayne church

Posted at 4:40 PM, May 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-19 17:40:04-04

RAYNE, La.— The Diocese of Lafayette have released a statement following the discovery of human remains near St. Joseph Church early Thursday morning.

Diocese of Lafayette Statement:

The Diocese of Lafayette has been made aware of the discovery of skeletal remains near St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne. The Diocese fully supports and is cooperating with the law enforcement investigation now underway by the Rayne Police Department. We are hoping to learn the identity of the remains so they can be returned to their final resting place in a dignified and respectful manner. We urge anyone with any information about the matter to contact Rayne Police or Crime Stoppers at 337-789-TIPS.

The church staff reported the discovery to police after they discovered skeletal remains, a note with symbols, and other items possibly taken from a grave arranged in a peculiar manner outside the church side entrance, according to police. The contents of the note have not been disclosed at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

“Our priority is to identify the remains and understand the circumstances surrounding their placement at the church. This is a highly unusual situation, and we're treating it with the gravity it deserves," Chief of Police Carroll Stelly said Thursday. "We are currently working closely with the Acadia Parish Coroner’s Office to expedite the identification process.”

Chief Stelly urges anyone with information about the incident to come forward. Stelly said, “We need the community’s help. If anyone saw anything unusual in the area, please contact us immediately. Your information could be critical to our investigation.”

While this incident is alarming, there is currently no evidence to suggest a threat to public safety, police say.

Additional patrols will be initiated in the area out of an abundance of caution.

Anyone with information relevant to this case is urged to contact the Rayne Police Department at (337) 334-4215 or the local Crime Stoppers line at (337) 789-TIPS.

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