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Police seek car belonging to priest found dead in Eureka church

Eureka police are searching for the car that belongs to a popular Roman Catholic priest who was found slain in the church rectory on New Year’s Day.

The car, described as a gray Nissan Altima hybrid, belonged to the Rev. Eric Freed, who was found dead inside St. Bernard Church after he failed to show up for a Mass. Police have so far declined to reveal how he was killed or in what condition his body was found, saying only that it was a violent crime.

Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills warned anyone who may see the car not to approach it but to instead call police.

The car has the license plate 6NDW400.

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Freed’s death stunned parishioners and the community. He was described in local media accounts as being popular and well-liked, particularly in the Japanese community, where he was active.

At a news conference Wednesday, Eureka Mayor Frank Jager called Freed’s death “absolutely a tremendous loss, not only for the St. Bernard’s parish, but for our community in general.”

At the same press briefing, Mills sought to reassure residents that his department was tapping “every resource possible” for the investigation.

“I want to assure the citizens of Eureka that this does not appear to be a larger situation, where people need to be concerned,” he said. “However, we are expending every resource possible to make sure this investigation is as thorough as possible.”

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Anyone with information on Freed’s death or the whereabouts of his Nissan was urged to call Eureka police at (707) 441-4044.

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jason.wells@latimes.com

Twitter: @jasonbretwells | Facebook | Google+


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