UPDATE: New details have developed in the arrest of the suspect being accused of two counts of illegal possession of human remains.
The Rayne Police Department posted an update to their social media stating that Russell James Richard, 44, of Rayne, was taken into custody on May 25, 2023, at 4:25 p.m., in Lafayette Parish. Richard will be transferred to the Acadia Parish Jail, pending a $20,000 bond set by Commissioner Andre Doguet.
Original Story: The Rayne Police Department has released an update in its investigation into the series of discoveries of human remains at St. Joseph Church.
On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, St. Joseph Church staff reported another human bone left on the steps of the church.
The bone was found without any note or other items with it, unlike the May 18 discovery.
Subsequently, detectives with the Rayne Police Department identified Russell “Rusty” Richard of Rayne as the alleged suspect in the May 18 and May 23 incidents.
After being identified and questioned by detectives, Police say Richard cooperated and identified the cemetery on the north side of Roberts Cove Highway, just outside of Rayne, as the source of the stolen bones.
Chief Stelly said, "This is a unique case, and we appreciate the patience and support of the community and the congregation of St. Joseph Church as we continue our investigation. Investigators are in the process of trying to identify family members of the stolen bones. Richard claimed his motive was to have the bones blessed and properly reburied.”
Detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for Russell “Rusty” Richard for (2) counts of illegal possession of human remains in violation of LA R.S. 25:955.
Other related coverage:
Diocese releases statement on skeletal remains discovered near Rayne church