Two nuns stabbed to death in their home in Mississippi

August 25, 2016 6:07 PM EDT

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(Reuters) - Two Catholic nuns were found stabbed to death on Thursday at their home in Durant, Mississippi, and officials told local media they are investigating the case as a robbery that escalated into murder.

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) confirmed the deaths of the two nuns, who worked at a medical clinic, and named them as Sister Paula Merrill, of the SCN in Kentucky, and Sister Margaret Held, with the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee.

"Pray in gratitude for the precious lives of Sisters Paula and Margaret ... They served the poor so well. Because we are gospel women, please also pray for the perpetrators," SCN President Susan Gatz said in a statement.

The two had not come into the clinic, about 60 miles northeast of Jackson, on Thursday morning. Their bodies were found in a check of the house by a co-worker, police told local media. No arrests have been made yet, they said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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