Man found dead in Nacogdoches church

Published: Dec. 17, 2014 at 2:04 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2014 at 11:29 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches police do not suspect foul play in the case of a man found dead in a church Tuesday evening.

According to the report, police responded to a call at St. Mary's Catholic Church, located at 211 E. College St., at 5:56 p.m.

Officers report the 69-year-old man, who was later identified as James Gray, was found dead in the sanctuary between two pews. There were no obvious signs of foul play.

The sanctuary is open all day and nobody else was there when he died, according to the report. Somebody found him before mass. Recently, the church's sanctuary had been serving as Gray's shelter. He had been sleeping on the pews.

"For the past week and a half, two weeks, maybe three weeks, he had been sleeping in the chapel," said a spokesman for the church. "Because he wasn't belligerent, and he was polite and respectful and reasonably clean, we just said, 'Yeah." Well, we're not going to chase him off."

The church official said that it was quite a surprise when Gray didn't rise and shine when they turned the lights on Tuesday night. After the mass had started, parishioners noticed that Gray wasn't moving and went to check him out.

A preliminary autopsy concluded Gray died of natural causes.

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