An Australian priest was found dead shortly after inspecting his religious order’s property in Carcar City, Cebu, police confirmed Wednesday.

Father Douglas Rowe, founder of the Cebu City-based Patrist Society of the Sons and Daughters of God the Father, was found floating in a creek beside the order’s property in Sitio Ilaya, Brgy. Can-asuhan, around 11:45 a.m. Monday, case investigator PO2 Rosendo Binondo said.

Before the incident, Rowe, a nun, and a landbroker were inspecting the group’s 2.5-hectare property in the area.

The nun and landbroker crossed the creek, but Rowe stayed behind to take more pictures of the land from a high ground, Binondo said.

“Nung nakalayo na daw ‘yung madre at landbroker, hindi na makita ‘yung pari so bumalik at nakita na lang siya (Rowe) 20 meters away na lumulutang sa tubig ng sapa,” the policeman said.

The two brought Rowe to a local hospital, but the priest was already dead, according to Binondo.

“Wala naman kaming nakitang injuries, hinihintay namin ngayon ‘yung result ng autopsy exam,” he said.

There were also no signs of commotion or struggle. However, human waste was found nearby and Rowe’s pants had been lowered down to his knees, leading police to suspect that the priest relieved himself before the incident.

The 69-year-old Rowe, a native of Midland in Perth, Western Australia, used to be a member of the Society of Jesus and specialized in spiritual counselling.

He formed the Patrist Society of the Sons and Daughters of God the Father, popularly known as “Patrists,” following an “after-life experience,” according to the group’s website. (John Roson)

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