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Police Probe Funeral Home Slayings

March 14, 2002

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HUDSON, Wis. (AP) _ The investigation of two slayings at a funeral home last month is not focusing on a religious group opposed to embalming, the police chief said Wednesday.

Investigators earlier had said the leader of The Rest of Jesus Ministry was a suspect and questioned her and other members about the Feb. 5 shootings.

Chief Richard Trende said Wednesday that no evidence has been found to indicate Kathryn Padilla or her followers were involved. Padilla had said they had nothing to do with the killings.

``At this point, we are not focusing on that group unless something more is developed,″ Trende said.

Police said the group sent threatening letters to funeral homes soon after the director at O’Connell Family Funeral Home and an intern were killed. No clear motive has been found.

``They happened to have some literature that gave us reason to look at them,″ Trende said.

Padilla, who claims she is a prophet, believes embalming desecrates the body and the dead should only be wrapped in a simple white sheet.

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