February 3, 2003 - Lowell Sun: Massachusetts Congressmen request that missing PCV Walter Poirier remain on Peace Corps active-volunteer list

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: 02 February 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: February 3, 2003 - Lowell Sun: Massachusetts Congressmen request that missing PCV Walter Poirier remain on Peace Corps active-volunteer list

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 3:35 pm: Edit Post

Massachusetts Congressmen request that missing PCV Walter Poirier remain on Peace Corps active-volunteer list

Read and comment on this story from the Lowell Sun that Massachusetts Congressmen are requesting that the Peace Corps keep missing Bolivia PCV Walter Poirier on PC active-volunteer list at:

Poirier probe gets a local boost*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Poirier probe gets a local boost

Pols petition Peace Corps to continue search for missing Lowell man


LOWELL Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation are requesting that the Peace Corps keep Walter Poirier on the active-volunteer list indefinitely, fearing that the agency would close its investigation into the Lowell mans disappearance if his service term officially ended.

This month, it will be two years since Poirier disappeared while volunteering for the Peace Corps in Bolivia. Police and Peace Corps officials in the mountainous South American country never found a trace of the 23-year-old, leaving his family despondent.

Poiriers two-year mission was officially completed Nov. 15, but at the familys request, the Peace Corps agreed to extend his close of service date to Feb. 15. Now, as that date approaches, the family remains concerned that if the service date ends, the Peace Corps might have less incentive to keep its investigation active.

They view the close-of-service date as the governments way of closing the book on their son, said an aide to U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan.

To help the family, Meehan and U.S. Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry recently sent a letter to the Peace Corps requesting that Poirier remain on the active-volunteer list indefinitely.

Walter served his country in the Peace Corps, and I believe his family is rightfully entitled to this request if only to ease their pain during this trying time, Meehan said in a statement.

Neither the Peace Corps nor the Poirier family could be reached for comment on the request.

Poirier, a member of Lowell High Schools Class of 1996 who graduated from the University of Notre Dame, was reportedly last seen in La Paz, the populous high-altitude capital where the Peace Corps had a headquarters and where Poirier and other volunteers often stayed and worked.

He had been assigned to work with local families on eco-tourism in the Zongo Valley, an even higher terrain about three hours by bus from La Paz.

Officials theorized that Poirier may have fallen off a steep trail in the Zongo mountains while traveling alone. Murder and kidnappings are unusual in Bolivia, though officials couldnt rule out that Poirier fell victim to criminals.

About a year after Poiriers disappearance, the General Accounting Offices investigative unit determined that Peace Corps officials failed to keep proper tabs on his whereabouts, saying Poirier fell off the radar. Among other things, the GAO report said the Peace Corps was unaware that Poirier had changed apartments in the Zongo Valley, moving to a more isolated spot.

Peter Wards e-mail address is pward@lowellsun.com .

Read the PCOL Exclusive on Walter Poirier from December 8, 2002: Poirier Family wants RPCVs who knew their missing son to contact the family

Read and comment on this PCOL exclusive story about Walter Poirier, shown in the photo above, a Peace Corps Volunteer last seen in January 2001. His family wants any RPCV who served with their son in Bolivia to contact them. Read the story at:

Poirier Family wants RPCVs who knew their missing son to contact the family*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Poirier Family wants RPCVs who knew their missing son to contact the family

The Walter R. Poirier Family wants to talk with RPCVs who served in Bolivia with their missing son, Walter J. Poirier. Walter Poirier, a Peace Corps Volunteer, has been missing in Bolivia since February, 2001. The Poirier Family alerted Peace Corps/Bolivia of their concerns on March 4, 2001, because they had not heard from him since January 31, 2001 and more importantly, because no one else had heard from him. Walter's mother, Sheila Poirier, was told that her son, age 22, was last seen by Americans on January 31, 2001.

The Lowell, Massachusetts native, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, arrived in Bolivia in August, 2000 and since January, 2001, became involved in an embryonic Tourism Project in the Zongo Valley. It involved working with the Indigeneous People of the Zongo Valley and Government Personnel at City Hall in La Paz, Bolivia.

Walter's case has been investigated by the Bolivian National Police, by State Department Authorities assigned to the Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, and by the FBI.

The Poirier Family recently received a letter from Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez stating that the Peace Corps is renewing the public affairs campaign to locate their son beginning on December 1, 2002. Mr. Vasquez also stated that the reward would remain at $25,000.

The Poirier Family is pleased that the Peace Corps is renewing the campaign. They hope this will generate some new leads.

The Poirier Family feels that there has never been a sustained effort involving their son's disappearance. They do not fault the professionalism or qualifications of either the American or the Bolivian Authorities but they do feel that efforts have been hampered by the overwhelming caseloads assigned to these Authorities. The Poiriers would like to see the United States Government assign this case to a qualified Bolivian detective whose sole responsibility would be to investigate Walter J. Poirier's diasappearance.

The Poirier Family has also sought and received assistance from their elected representatives: Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, and Congressman Meehan.

In the meantime, Walter's parents, Walter and Sheila Poirier, would like to talk to active PCVs or RPCVs who served with their son in Bolivia. They would like to hear anything, whether it seems to be related to the case or not. Anything that RPCVs want to remain in confidence will be.

Walter's parents can be reached at:

E-MAIL: ekss@aol.com

TEL#: 978-459-8134

Walter and Sheila Poirier
82 Raynor Street
Lowell, MA 01851

More about Walter Poirier

Read more about Walter Poirier at:

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bolivia; Safety and Security of Volunteers



By bankass.com on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 9:37 pm: Edit Post

Very Sad. Congressman Meehan is correct. Thanks Marty.

As a former volunteer, I am dismayed at Peace Corps response in his case. I think there should be a full time investigator in Bolivia, still investigating Walter's situation. I think the whole Congress should put forth a bill an authorize "a real search with a local investigator" for a two year period. The funds should come from the Peace Corps budget or the National Peace Corps Association.

If not, the American people should put resources towards his search. From what I understand, he was a good young man with alot idealism and spirit. As former volunteers and current staff members, we should give our fullest to that Spirit, he gave to us. He deserves it and so does his family.

For Forty Plus Years, Peace Corps has responded to Poverty and Crisis. I ask you, please respond with just as much fevor in Walter's situation. Please encourage a further investigation.

We look forward seeing a positive response.


By Laurel Dickerson on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 10:23 am: Edit Post

> Maybe a few RPCVs from Bolivia and the surrounding countries should get together to form an on-site investigative group.

Laurel (Colombia 64-66)

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