RAYNE, La. (KLFY) — The Rayne Police Department has initiated an investigation following the discovery of human bones at St. Joseph Church early Thursday morning, according to a post on RPD’s Facebook page.

The church staff reported the incident to the Rayne Police Department at approximately 7 a.m. after they discovered skeletal remains, a note with symbols, and other items possibly taken from a grave arranged in a peculiar manner outside the church side entrance, authorities said.

Rayne Police Chief Carroll Stelly said the contents of the note have not been disclosed due to the ongoing investigation.

“Our priority is to identify the remains and understand the circumstances surrounding their placement at the church,” Stelly said. “This is a highly unusual situation, and we’re treating it with the gravity it deserves. We are currently working closely with the Acadia Parish Coroner’s Office to expedite the identification process.”

Stelly urges anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

“We need the community’s help,” he said. “If anyone saw anything unusual in the area, please contact us immediately. Your information could be critical to our investigation.”

Stelly said while this incident is alarming, there is currently no evidence to suggest a threat to public safety. Additional patrols will be initiated in the area out of an abundance of caution.

The Diocese of Lafayette released a statement Friday afternoon:

The Diocese of Lafayette has been made aware of the discovery of skeletal remains near St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne. The Diocese fully supports and is cooperating with the law enforcement investigation now underway by the Rayne Police Department. We are hoping to learn the identity of the remains so they can be returned to their final resting place in a dignified and respectful manner.

Blue Rolfes, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Lafayette

Anyone with information relevant to this case is urged to contact the Rayne Police Department at (337) 334-4215 or the local Crime Stoppers line at (337) 789-TIPS.