BURKE COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - The Burke County Sheriff's Office confirms the body of a missing priest has been found. Father Rene Robert had been missing from St. John's County, Fla., since Sunday, April 10, 2016. Robert's body was discovered in a rural area about four miles from Highway 56 in Waynesboro.
"I was really shocked," says Burke County Sheriff Greg Coursey. "And surprised that he would really stop here."
Investigators say suspect Steven Murray is the one who led them to the body. You may remember, Murray was captured in Aiken County, SC, on Thursday, April 14th following an extensive manhunt. Murray was then extradited back to Florida. Now, he's in the Burke County Jail.
Coursey says around 4 p.m. on Monday, he received a call from authorities in Florida. They were bringing Steven Murray back to Georgia because they received a tip on the location of Father Robert's body. Just hours later, the search ended.
"About 7:20, we got a call from the Jacksonville – from the Duval county investigators and St. Johns investigators – to tell us in fact that they had found the body that is believed to be Father Rene Robert," Coursey confirms.
Authorities believe the priest had been dead since Sunday, April 10, 2016. Right now, investigators are focused on figuring out how and why this happened. They have a lot of questions for their lead suspect.
"Right now he's being interviewed in Thompson at the GBI headquarters and we will go from there, see what the charges are," Sheriff Coursey says about the near future of the case. "More than likely, he will be staying in Burke County."
It's not the ending many were hoping for, but an ending that will help prosecution move forward.
"It's just a sad closure, to a sad situation," says Coursey.
Sheriff Coursey tells FOX 54 he plans to update the media again on Wednesday. He's hoping to have more information after investigators finish interviewing Steven Murray.