EUREKA, Calif. -

The search continues for the killer of a Catholic priest in Humboldt County.  The body of Father Eric Freed was found in the rectory of St. Bernard Church in Eureka Wednesday morning after he failed to show up for morning Mass.

Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills will hold a news conference Thursday morning to discuss the murder investigation.   The news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Eureka Police Department.  KRCR News Channel 7 reporter Evan Schreiber will be at the news conference and will provide updated information on the case.

Freed had been at the parish for about three years, and also taught religious studies at Humboldt State University.

Eureka Mayor Frank Jager said at a news conference, his community has lost a beloved member.

Eureka Police are asking for the public's help looking for Freed's vehicle apparently taken from the church after the killing.

They're looking for the dark grey Nissan Altima hybrid, with California license plate 6NDW400.

There is a message on the St. Bernard Church website which reads "Rest In Peace, Rev. Fr. Freed.  Pastor, Shepard, Friend."

During the Christmas season the following letter from Father Freed was posted on the church website.

"Dear Parishioner:
It is with great joy that I send you greetings in anticipation of our celebration of the birth of Christ our Lord.  Each year this time finds us busily preparing our homes and our hearts to welcome anew Christ into our lives. I cannot tell you how proud and honored I am to be your pastor.

Our parish is alive, joyful, and full of faith, hope, and charity that define us
as Catholic Christians. Our efforts in our faith journey will certainly help to make this Christmas also very, very special.

This Christmas St. Bernard is once again honored to be able to offer each parishioner a special gift. Through the generosity of anonymous parishioners we have a book for each of you. I am sure that each of the three books we have as gifts will be a great aid in living our Catholic faith.

I also believe that this will help us share our faith with our friends and neighbors as we swap our books for a second and then a third after we have read them. How blessed we are at St. Bernard and how great are the works of the Lord!

So, please let me take this moment to wish you and yours a very merry and holy Christmas. May our celebration of the birth of Christ bring an everlasting warmth and joy into our homes and hearts.

Thank you for your support and prayers for me as pastor. From the bottom of my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Eric Freed."