Florida Priest Positively Identified and Arrest Made in the Murder Investigation

April 21, 2016

Waynesboro, Georgia -  On Wednesday April 20, 2016 Steven James Murray, age 28, of Jacksonville, Florida was charged with the murder of Florida Priest Father Rene Robert in Burke County, Georgia.  Father Robert was last seen Sunday April 10th in St. Augustine, Florida. Murray was denied bond during his first appearance hearing and remains in the Burke County Jail.

On Monday April 18, 2016, investigators from the St. Johns County Florida and Jacksonville Florida Sheriff’s Office transported Murray to Georgia and met with Georgia authorities for the purpose of locating Robert. Murray led agents and investigators to the deceased body, believed to be Robert, in a remote wooded area of Burke County. The body was transported to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office at GBI Headquarters in Decatur, Georgia for positive identification and autopsy.

The autopsy was performed on Wednesday April 20, 2016.  The preliminary findings indicate the manner of death is homicide and cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds.  At the time of the autopsy, the identity could not be confirmed due to the condition of the body. 

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, dental records from Florida were compared, confirming the identity of the decedent is Father Robert.  

The Georgia investigation is ongoing with continued involvement from the authorities in Florida and South Carolina.  

Contact Information: 
Pat Morgan, Special Agent in Charge - 706/565-2575