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Police: Ruth Prats is 2nd victim in Covington killing; police believe crime was random

Father Otis Young and Pastoral Associate Ruth Prats had been missing since Sunday night. Their bodies were found burned beyond recognition.

LACOMBE, La. — Ruth Prats, a pastoral associate at St. Peter Church, has been identified as the second victim in a grisly killing on the Northshore.

Police said they believe the crime was random. They said that surveillance video showed the suspect, Antonio Donde Tyson, riding a bike Prats’ neighborhood around 4 p.m. Sunday. He seemed to talk briefly to her and Father Otis Young. More video showed the suspect return to the home a short time later, with what they believe was a knife behind his back as he entered the home.  

Video then showed Prats’ vehicle backing out of the driveway and then backing into the driveway, all the way to the back, out of camera view. 

Several surveillance video cameras showed Tyson driving around in Ms. Prats’ vehicle, according to Lieutenant Kevin Collins of the Covington Police Department. 

According to St. Tammany Parish Coroner Chuck Preston, Prats’ body was identified through DNA testing. Fr. Otis Young’s body was identified Tuesday. He was retired from St. Peter Church after having several serious medical issues, including a stroke and heart problems.

Both of their bodies were found burned behind the Dependable Glass Works store in downtown Covington on Monday morning. According to Preston, Prats died of blunt force trauma and Young died from a combination of blunt and sharp force trauma

According to police, the investigation began when Prats’ car was used in a hit-and-run on the night of Nov. 27. Police attempted to get in touch with Prats, but couldn’t contact her. That led them to her family, who also couldn’t get in touch with her.

Eventually, her cell phone was traced to a dumpster, at which point she was reported missing.

According to Covington PD, her car was found early the next morning in a Walgreens parking lot with Tyson and an unidentified woman inside.

Both were taken into police custody. The woman was later released without being charged in the crime.

Police said that the crime appears to be random and there was no clear connection between Tyson and Prats and Young. They added that he did not work for the church or school in any way.

Tyson faces two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree kidnapping.

Tyson was released from prison three months ago after spending nearly 30 years incarcerated for forcible rape.