Image: Sister Marguerite Bartz
Diocese of Gallup via AP
Sister Marguerite Bartz, 64, failed to show up at Sunday Mass, police said.
updated 11/3/2009 12:37:48 PM ET 2009-11-03T17:37:48

A vehicle belonging to a nun slain on the Navajo Indian reservation has been recovered in Arizona, investigators say.

A colleague found Sister Marguerite Bartz's body after she didn't show up to Sunday Mass in the community of Navajo on the Arizona-New Mexico border. Investigators believe the 64-year-old was killed sometime between Halloween night and Sunday morning.

FBI spokesman Darrin Jones said Tuesday he can't disclose where in Arizona the beige 2005 Honda CR-V was located. Authorities hope to release additional details about the case later in the day, he said.

The FBI and state police also were searching her residence for clues.

Authorities and officials with the Diocese of Gallup, which oversees the parish in Navajo, said they were not sure whether Bartz or the church were the target, or if the attack was a random act.

Bartz was one of more than a dozen Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament who are currently ministering within the Diocese of Gallup, which spans 55,000 square miles in New Mexico and Arizona.

'Passionate'
The diocese said Bartz was born in Plymouth, Wisconsin, in 1945. She entered the order in 1966 from Beaumont, Texas, and professed final vows in 1974. She had ministered in Massachusetts, Louisiana and in several communities around New Mexico before ending up at St. Berard in 1999.

The diocese said there is usually another sister who lives at the residence with Bartz, but she was out of the state at a meeting and Bartz was alone.

"She was known to be a woman always passionate for justice and peace, and the life she lived would tell us that she would respond to this incident with a spirit of forgiveness towards whoever is responsible for these acts," the diocese said in a statement released Monday.

More on: New Mexico

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