Local News

Woman's body found outside Raleigh cathedral

Posted July 28, 2009

— Raleigh police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found on the grounds of Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Tuesday morning.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said a woman going to the church, at 200 Hillsborough St., to tutor a student found the body around 7 a.m.

Woman's body found at Raleigh cathedral Woman's body found at Raleigh cathedral

Investigators believe she was in her 50s and was homeless. A positive identification, however, is pending.

Police are treating the woman's death as a homicide, which is routine, until her cause of death can be determined, Sughrue said. That is to preserve evidence and information collected from the scene in case the death is ruled a homicide.

Investigators urge anyone with information about the woman's death to contact the Raleigh Police Department at 919-996-3555.

"It is in the hands of the police right now," Catholic Diocese spokesman Frank Morock said.

"School is closed for the summer," he wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "There are no activities scheduled at the school during summer and only Masses at the Cathedral. I expect Mass to be celebrated at its normal time of 12:10 (Wednesday) afternoon."

The Parrish's priest, Father Dan Oshwald, was on vacation and not available to comment.

Downtown Raleigh resident Jerry Oakley said he is saddened that a body was found on the church grounds.

“That’s like sacred ground. You see kids playing there all the time. There’s a daycare there. I’m just surprised,” Oakley said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • mmezynski Jul 28, 2009

    Went to school there and family belonged to the parish since 1962. Dad was head usher for Mass on Sundays and always welcomed those who were homeless, just reminding them to be quite during Mass. Afterwards, he would personally take them to the priest for help/support. Only twice, in all those years, I watch Dad take someone outside and told them to leave. Other times he had to call EMS for trips to the hospital for the homeless. Don't cancel any events (weddings)....the grounds are safe, the Church is safe and when school is in session, the grounds are VERY safe....trust me...RIP to the lady who passed away...she's gone home.

  • colliedave Jul 28, 2009

    The Raleigh Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army do a great job at ministering to the homeless. The problem is the rules they impose and some refuse to abide by them; I have no sympathy for those that are not willing to seek help for the things that have put them on the street

  • witmasta Jul 28, 2009

    The moment a church becomes private property (unavailable to the public- homeless or not) is the moment that it no longer serves the needs of the community.

  • Sumo Vita Jul 28, 2009

    "If people quit giving money to panhandlers and start donating to the mission instead, we wouldn't have this problem."

    Oh yes, I'm sure the problem is that we Christians are too generous when it comes to helping our poor and needy.

  • Nikka Jul 28, 2009

    If people quit giving money to panhandlers and start donating to the mission instead, we wouldn't have this problem.

    We need a roundup!

  • angora2 Jul 28, 2009

    When you go to a downtown church, the homeless population is part of the fabric. Sometimes they come to a service to get warm or cool off, sometimes to get a cup of coffee and a doughnut. Sometimes they even slip into the bathrooms to bathe. Downtown churches are good at handling the situations that inevitably arise, and the members are understanding about the needs of the homeless.

  • asdad Jul 28, 2009

    This is across the street from our office in downtown. Sad sight at 7am to see 8 patrol cars and 4 detectives. The homeless have bounced between the Cathedral and Church of the Good Shepherd to sleep outside. Often times the caretakers ask them to leave. Poor, yet scary situation!

  • Go Figure Jul 28, 2009

    that's a little bit too dramatic, TIME4REAL.

  • Go Figure Jul 28, 2009

    Sacred Heart Cathedral is my church and we have homeless people coming to the doors all the time, I pray for this poor lady.

  • buckos18 Jul 28, 2009

    time4real....you would be cheating yourself if you canceled your wedding at Cathedral...Its a beautiful church and a great parrish...unfortunately, being in a downtown setting, such things happen with homeless people..it just so happens the church/school was where this incident occurred.