Man killed priest in Mississippi, took kids and ran to Disney, investigators say

July 13th, 2011 by Staff

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Detectives say a man who told his kids they were going to Disney World was actually running away from the cops after murdering a Catholic priest in Mississippi.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested 31-year-old Jeremy Manieri at a Days Inn along Highway 192 Tuesday morning. He was wanted for murdering a 70-year-old priest, Father Edward Everitt.

Officials say Manieri was a maintenance man at the beachside property, which belonged to the Dominican Order. It was a retreat for its priests. Father Everitt was talking with Manieri about a construction project when they began to argue and according to police Manieri shot the priest twice.

Investigators say he then stole Everitt’s car, wallet, and cell phone, then grabbed his ex-wife and two children and told them they were going to Disney World.

They drove all the way down to Florida — but when they were getting ready for the theme park this morning, a Polk County SWAT team arrived at their hotel room door.

“You got a ten-year-old child and five-year-old baby, and it’s sad for them, because they think they’re coming down here to go to Disney, and they have no idea about all of this murder and stolen vehicle and all of that sort of thing,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “And its heart-breaking to see these children victimized as well as the primary victim who’s Father Everitt.”

Manieri has his first appearance in court on Wednesday. He will be taken back to Mississippi at some point after that.

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