RELIGION

The Latest: Congregation praises investigators working case

  • This is a smartphone photograph taken and released by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety in Durant, Miss., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, of Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder in connection with the killing of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both nurse practitioners who were found dead in their Durant house Thursday. (Warren Strain/Mississippi Department of Public Safety Hand Out, via AP)

    This is a smartphone photograph taken and released by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety in Durant, Miss., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, of Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder in connection with the killing of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both nurse practitioners who were found dead in their Durant house Thursday. (Warren Strain/Mississippi Department of Public Safety Hand Out, via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This is a smartphone photograph taken and released by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety in Durant, Miss., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, of Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder in connection with the killing of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both nurse practitioners who were found dead in their Durant house Thursday. (Warren Strain/Mississippi Department of Public Safety Hand Out, via AP)

    This is a smartphone photograph taken and released by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety in Durant, Miss., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, of Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder in connection with the killing of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both nurse practitioners who were found dead in their Durant house Thursday. (Warren Strain/Mississippi Department of Public Safety Hand Out, via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • 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 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)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on the killing of two nuns in Mississippi (all times local):

2:15 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky-based congregation where one of two murdered Mississippi nuns will be buried has expressed thanks to those working to solve the case.

Diane Curtis, director of communications for Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, based in Nazareth, Kentucky, tells The Associated Press in a statement early Saturday: "Our congregation expresses gratitude to all who have been working so hard on this investigation. At this time we continue to pray for everyone involved in this tragedy."

Forty-six-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was charged Friday night with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.

Their bodies were discovered Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, Mississippi, about 10 miles from where they lived.

Held will be buried in Wisconsin and Merrill will be buried at her congregation's headquarters in Nazareth, Kentucky.

1:30 a.m.

Authorities say they have charged a 46-year-old man in connection with the deaths of two nuns who were killed in Mississippi.

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said in a statement Friday night that Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.

Their bodies were discovered Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, Mississippi, about 10 miles from where they lived.

Lt. Colonel Jimmy Jordan says "Sanders was developed as a person of interest early on in the investigation."

Sanders is being held in an undisclosed detention center awaiting his initial court appearance.