VIA| Double murder rips the heart out of a destitute community. Leaves impoverished community with gaping holes in health care.

Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was charged in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68, Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said in a statement released late Friday night.

…Sisters Margaret Held and Paula Merrill were nurse practitioners who dedicated their lives to providing health care to people in the poorest county in the state.

And as authorities sought the killer, many residents wondered how they will fill the hole the women’s deaths have left.

…Both women worked at the clinic, where they gave flu shots, dispensed insulin and provided other medical care for children and adults who couldn’t afford it.
Their stolen car was found abandoned a mile from their home, and there were signs of a break-in, but police haven’t disclosed a motive.
Authorities have not said how the women were killed, but the Rev. Greg Plata of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Lexington, where the nuns had led Bible study for years, said police told him they were stabbed.

..With 44 percent of its residents living in poverty, Holmes is the seventh-poorest county in America, according to the Census Bureau.
The slayings did more than shock people and plunge the county into mourning.
They leave a gaping hole in what was already a strapped health care system.

..The two nuns cultivated relationships with drug company representatives, who often left extra free samples, according to clinic manager Lisa Dew.
‘This is a poor area, and they dignified those who are poor with outreach and respect for them,’ Plata said. ‘They treated each person as a child of God.’

About Barry G. Morris

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *