The mutilated body of a 64-year-old nun was discovered yesterday in a sleeping bag in a Virginia Beach parking lot, and police intensified their search for the man who abducted her and another nun in Georgia on Sunday after fatally shooting his father, law enforcement officials said.
The body of Sister Philomena Fogarty was discovered not long after police in nearby Norfolk spotted the car driven by her alleged abductor, Adrian O. Robinson, 25, about 3:30 a.m. yesterday. When police closed in on the Chevy Lumina, Robinson bolted from the gray car and fled into a marshy area.
Robinson remained at large last night, and the FBI has issued a nationwide alert for his capture, authorities said. Warrants were obtained charging Robinson in Fogarty's murder and in the two abductions, said Chris Amos, a Norfolk police spokesman.
"The brutality of this crime is over the top, which makes us all the more concerned," Amos said last night. "I heard one detective say, 'I've never seen anything this bad.' "
Amos said police found human remains identified as Fogarty's in the Lumina. By chance, a security guard in nearby Virginia Beach found her decapitated body in a sleeping bag about the same time police were looking for Robinson, he said.
Norfolk police became involved in the case Tuesday when they received a call from an employee at a Hampton Inn on North Military Highway, Amos said.
The employee said a woman -- identified as the second nun, Lucie Kristofik, 72 -- had alleged that she and a friend had been abducted Sunday from their double-wide motor home in Harris County, Ga., and then bound and gagged, Amos said.
Investigators confirmed the nun's story and were told by sheriff's deputies in Harris County, about 80 miles southwest of Atlanta, that Robinson had shot his father numerous times, fired at another relative and then abducted the nuns from their nearby home.
Robinson allegedly paid a stranger $50 to rent the motel room for him and his "grandma" so it would not be listed in his name, Amos said. Robinson later left the motel with Fogarty and left Kristofik behind, bound and gagged, police said.
Kristofik managed to escape Tuesday morning and ran for help, police said. She was not injured.
"She's obviously very shook up," Amos said of Kristofik. "Considering her age, she's obviously doing well."
During a search of the motel room, police found a rifle, Amos said.
The Rev. Ronnie Madden of Christ the King Catholic Church in Harris County said last night that Robinson lived about 21/2 miles from the nuns and "may have known of them and that they were a soft target."
Police said the abductor also stole Fogarty's car and took $900 from the nuns before fleeing the area with the bound and gagged women.
Madden, who like Fogarty is Irish, said the best way to describe the loss to the community is "as we say back in Ireland -- 'gutted.' No words; it just sort of tears our guts out."
Madden said of Fogarty: "She was just a wonderful woman, a saint. She took care of the poor for 16 years."
Madden said Fogarty was well known in the community and was about to mark her 50th year as a nun. She was responsible for drawing many of Christ the King's current 137 families into the parish, he said. Fogarty lived frugally with Kristofik, he said.
Robinson has been charged in a Georgia warrant with homicide in the fatal shooting of 56-year-old Henry Robinson and with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in a federal warrant, said Joe Parris, an FBI special agent in Atlanta.
The suspect is also wanted on an outstanding forgery warrant in Norfolk. Police are not sure whether he is still in the Tidewater area, Amos said.
"Now that the car has been recovered, it becomes a little more difficult," Amos said. "He's definitely armed and someone we consider very dangerous -- and very, very violent."