2 nuns stabbed to death in their home in Mississippi

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Bodies of 2 nuns found after apparent murder in their home

Two Catholic nuns were found stabbed to death on Thursday at their home in Durant, Mississippi, and officials told local media they are investigating the case as a robbery that escalated into murder.

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) confirmed the deaths of the two nuns, who worked at a medical clinic, and named them as Sister Paula Merrill, of the SCN in Kentucky, and Sister Margaret Held, with the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee.

Scenes from their home following the tragic incident

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2 Mississippi nuns found dead in their home
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2 Mississippi nuns found dead in their home
Jamie Sample, a parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Lexington, Miss., sits in the shade in Durant, Miss., and shows a smartphone photograph taken last December 2015, of Sisters Paula Merrill, left, and Margaret Held. The two nuns who worked as nurses, and lived in Durant, Miss., were found slain in their home Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. There were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (Courtesy Sample family via AP)
This undated photo provided by Sisters of Charity of Nazareth shows Sister Paula Merrill. Sister Margaret Held and Merrill, two nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi, were found slain in their home and there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing, officials said Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth via AP)
This 2015 photo provided by the School Sisters of St. Francis shows Sister Margaret Held. Sister Paula Merrill and Held, two nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi, were found slain in their home and there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing, officials said Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. (Michael O'Loughlin/School Sisters of St. Francis via AP)
Jonell Payton, right, comforts Lisa Dew, outside the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The nuns worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, where Dew was the office manager. Dew and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Local police officers leave the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Police crime scene tape surrounds the residence of two Catholic nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi, and were found slain in their Durant, Miss., home Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Authorities said there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Next door neighbors of two nuns who were found dead in their home, Patricia Wyatt Weatherly, right, and Eloise Luckett talks to the media in Durant, Miss., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The nuns worked as nurses at a clinic in a neighboring town and helped the poor. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
"I can't image who would kill those two sisters," says Patricia Wyatt Weatherly, the next door neighbor of two Catholic nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi, outside the Durant, Miss., house, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The women were found slain in their home, and there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing, officials said. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Sam Sample, a parishioner of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Lexington, Miss., background, paces while other church members and neighbors watch investigators at the house in the background where two nuns who worked as nurses lived in Durant, Miss., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The nuns were found slain in their home, and there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Police officials confer outside the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agent takes a bag with evidence from the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, to his vehicle, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agent stores evidence bags from the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, into his vehicle, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said their were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agent stores evidence bags from the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, into his vehicle, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said their were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agent takes a bag with evidence from the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, to her vehicle, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said their were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agent takes a bag with evidence from the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, to his vehicle, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said their were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Two Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents inspect a car in the garage of the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said their were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Jonell Payton, right, comforts Lisa Dew, outside the Durant, Miss., home of two slain Catholic nuns, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The nuns worked as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, where Dew was the office manager. Dew and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Durant Police Chief John Haynes, left, and assistant Police Chief James Lee reassure Lexington Medical Clinic employees Lisa Dew, right, and Viola Turner, seated, that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was giving the home of two slain Catholic nuns who worked as nurses at the clinic a through crime scene investigation, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Durant. The clinic office manager and a Durant police officer discovered their bodies inside the house after both nuns did not report for work. Authorities said there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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"Pray in gratitude for the precious lives of Sisters Paula and Margaret ... They served the poor so well. Because we are gospel women, please also pray for the perpetrators," SCN President Susan Gatz said in a statement.

The two had not come into the clinic, about 60 miles northeast of Jackson, on Thursday morning. Their bodies were found in a check of the house by a co-worker, police told local media. No arrests have been made yet, they said. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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