Expert team tries to track down killers of American missionaries in Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Expert investigators have been assigned to the police probe into the murders of two American missionaries over the weekend.
Commissioner of Police Carl Williams also told the media yesterday that the United States had offered assistance in the investigation and the Jamaica Constabulary Force has accepted, although he gave no details of what form the help would take.
Randy Hentzel, 48, and Harold Nichols, 53, were found dead 24 hours apart – both with marks of violence on their bodies.
Nichols, who had lived in Jamaica with his wife for 14 years, and Hentzel, a father of five who had been in the island with his wife for five years, worked with the Pennsylvania-based Christian charity TEAMS for Medical Missions.
They left their homes on motorcycles on Saturday to carry out some missionary work in Albion Mountain in the northeastern parish of St. Mary. Hentzel’s body, with hands bound, was found that afternoon in the rural community. One motorcycle was next to his body, and another was nearby, prompting police, joined by members of the community, to go in search of Nichols. His body was found the following day, with his head bashed in, according to reports.
“A high-level investigation has been launched into this matter. Residents have pledged to cooperate fully with the authorities to ensure the perpetrators of this atrocious crime are sought and prosecuted,” the police chief said yesterday.
“A motive has not yet been established but we assure you that we will bring the perpetrators to justice… I am optimistic, based on the amount of resources that we have committed to this, that we should be able to make some headway in this investigations.”
Williams said he had spoken to the widows of the two men and the US Ambassador to bring them up to date with the investigations and assure them that police were doing all in their power to catch the culprits.
“When I spoke to the ambassador . . . he was very understanding of the situation that we are in, and he offered to give us help to solve this case and I accepted the help, and we will move to ensure that in whatever ways that we can avail ourselves of the help, we will,” the Police Commissioner said.
Counselor for public affairs at the US Embassy, Joshua Polacheck, said the American authorities were hoping for a speedy resolution to the matter.
“They were not just visiting; they’ve been pillars of the community for years,” he said of Hentzel and Nichols.
Autopsies have been scheduled for today to determine the cause of their deaths.
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