An ex-Roman Catholic priest whose name was recently included in a list of New Jersey priests and deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing children was found slain inside his Nevada home on Saturday, officials confirm.
John Capparelli, 70, died from a gunshot wound to the neck, an official from the Clark County Coroner’s Office confirms to PEOPLE. His death was ruled a homicide.
“Preliminary investigation indicates the victim died of suspicious circumstances,” states a press release from the Henderson Police Department’s spokesperson Officer Katrina Rothmeyer. “A suspect has not been identified at this time and police are following up on developed leads.”
In February, five dioceses in New Jersey released names of priests who were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors in alleged attacks dating back to 1940, according to an NorthJersey.com. Capparelli’s name was listed among them.
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In a letter, Newark Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Tobin wrote that publishing the names was part of “an effort to do what is right and just,” the paper reported.
Capparelli was ordained in 1980 and worked at several churches and institutions around New Jersey. In 1992, he was removed from the ministry and defrocked, according to multiple reports.
He was accused of groping, photographing and brutalizing young boys, reports The Star-Ledger. After he was forced to leave the church, he eventually got a job as a school teacher until the local newspaper reported details of his past. He surrendered his teaching license and moved to Henderson, Nevada.
A neighbor of Capparelli told the Associated Press that he would wave hello but mostly kept to himself.
Joann D’Angelo, who lived two doors down, said police told her they believed Capparelli was killed sometime on March 9 because he failed to show up for dinner with a friend.
Police did not comment on the status of the case because it’s an open investigation, an official said.