July 8, 2003 - Northwest News Channel 8: Peace Corps Volunteer Zack Merrill dies in Mali

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: July 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: July 23, 2003 - Peace Corps Press Release: Updated to Investigation on death of PCV Zachary Merrill : July 8, 2003 - Northwest News Channel 8: Peace Corps Volunteer Zack Merrill dies in Mali

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 10:59 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Zack Merrill dies in Mali

Read and comment on this story from Northwest News Channel 8 that Peace Corps volunteer Zack Merrill has died while serving in the West African nation of Mali. Mali police and the U.S. Embassy were investigating his death, but a Peace Corps spokeswoman said it does not appear suspicious. The Peace Corps believes Merrill died Sunday and is investigating the circumstances, Press Secretary Barbara Daly said. She declined to give further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Our condolences to the Merrill family on behalf of the Returned Volunteer community. Read the story at:

Portland-area Peace Corps volunteer dies*

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

Portland-area Peace Corps volunteer dies



A Peace Corps volunteer from the Portland area has died while serving in the West African nation of Mali.

The body of Zack Merrill was found Monday in the large village of Bla, where he had served for nearly two years. Mali police and the U.S. Embassy were investigating his death, but a Peace Corps spokeswoman said it does not appear suspicious.

“It’s very highly unlikely that there’s anything of suspicion involved,” said Barbara Daly, the Peace Corps press secretary in Washington, DC.

The Peace Corps believes Merrill died Sunday and also is investigating the circumstances, Daly said. She declined to give further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Merrill, 24, graduated from Lake Oswego High School in 1998. He was due to complete his two-year tour with the Peace Corps in November, Daly said. He had requested a one-year extension to focus on information technology in Mali; the Peace Corps was in the process of approving that request.

Merrill had stayed with a host family in Bla during his service there. Daly did not know what project he had been working on.

Merrill’s family declined to comment.

“He was definitely a very popular, well-received volunteer,” Daly said. “I’ve heard so many things about him.”

The Peace Corps has about 175 volunteers working in Mali, and some of them are working in the vicinity of Bla, Daly said.

The last Peace Corps volunteer to die overseas was Beth Bowers, who died in Africa in 2001 after a bike accident.

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

Main Sections
PCOL Magazine
Breaking News
One World
Peace Corps Library

What's New?

Directory Sign Up

RPCV Directory
RPCVs by State
RPCVs by Interest

Special Sections
Bulletin Board
Local RPCV Groups
Lost RPCVs
Master Index
Return to COS
Safety of PCVs
Speaking Out
The Third Goal
US Peace Corps
USA Freedom Corps
This Month's Issue

A Volunteer's Courage

After Sara Evans was assaulted she left the Peace Corps and returned to the United States. But her ordeal was only beginning. Read about a volunteer's courage in this story.
July Issue: A Volunteer's Courage
A Volunteer's Courage: Health Care for RPCVs
Issues with the Peace Corps Bill in Congress
Americorps' Failure: Lessons for the Peace Corps
RPCVs dump ton of coal at US Capital
German Peace Corps celebrates 40 years
Bill Moyers talks about America’s Future

More Feature Stories
Protest at the Peace Corps
Returned Volunteers honor Jack Vaughn
Alcohol Abuse a big issue for PCVs in Central Asia
Peace Corps to add 1,000 AIDS/HIV volunteers
Op-ed: The Future of the Peace Corps
Marine Sergeant says PC is "truly hardcore"
RPCV is wheelchair basketball champion
Watch Director Vasquez on web tv
Presidential Candidate calls for 25,000 Volunteers
Top Stories and Recent Headlines
Call Congress about Peace Corps Funding 5 July
RPCV gives the Indian River a voice 2 July
RPCV Donna Shalala wins at football 2 July
Election Results in for NPCA Board 1 July
Tony Gasbarro honored with Carter Award 1 July
The Shrivers: A Special Legacy 30 June
Malian President Touré Speaks at PC HQ 26 June
NGOs feel the squeeze from USAID 25 June
NPCA to announce President in July 19 June
A PCV reports on Mauritania coup attempt 15 June
Peace Corps Bill passes House Committee 12 June
Bridgeland on "Volunteers for Prosperity" 9 June
PC announces Franklin H. Williams Awards 4 June

Previous Issues and Special Reports
Exclusive: How RPCVs organized anti-war Ad
Improvements needed in Volunteer Support
From Russia with Love
Health Concerns: The Controversy over Lariam
GAO Reports on PCV Safety and Security
The Digital Freedom Initiative
PC/Washington: Senior Staff Appointments at PC HQ
PC Expansion: The Numbers Game?
Op-ed: Why Peace Corps needs Shriver's 4th Goal
When should PC return to Afghanistan?
RPCV Spy dies in Moscow
Op-ed: The Case for Peace Corps Independence
Preservation of an Independent Peace Corps
For the Peace Corps Fallen

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

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



By Walter R Poirier on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 9:19 am: Edit Post

My condolences to the Merrill family on the loss of their son. But as usual the Peace Corps is jumping to conclusions before any investigation is done. I hope the investigation isnt conducted by their IG office, but by competent investigators in conjunction with the local authorities. The Peace Corps has to stop trying to avert "bad press" before all the facts are known.

By Sheila Poirier on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 10:47 am: Edit Post

Along with my husband's condolences I offer my very deepest to the Merrill family.

As difficult as it may be at this time, I would like to advise the Merrill family to keep records of all communications, starting with the first call, to record telephone calls, to save e-mails, to get things in writing, etc.

Again, I am so very sorry to hear about your son.

Sheila Poirier

By bankass.com on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 10:56 pm: Edit Post

Oh! To the Merrill family, I am so sorry. This is horrible. He had a great spirit I am sure and the Malian people will never forget his contribution. God Bless you, from another volunteer who served in Mali.

My contact info is as follows.

Daniel Pailes

Mali 1988-89

By Marie Skertic on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 9:39 pm: Edit Post

I was very sad to hear to Zach's death in África. It sounds as though he was well-accepted by the community and had found his niche. I certainly hope that all the facts involved in the case will come to light. I do feel that Peace Corps needs to review applicants mental health, as well as their physical health, when accepting folks as volunteers. I also feel that accepting young people right-out-of-college may not be appropriate in all cases. My prayers are with Zach's family. May the truth be known, AFTER an extensive, fair and unbiased investigation has been carried out.

By baba (ip68-227-68-164.no.no.cox.net - on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 1:03 am: Edit Post

Dors en paix Zack.sinceres condeleances a la famille de ZAch,aux peacecorps.il est mort pour l'amour du Mali et de l'afrique laissant toute cette opulence americaine et accepter partager la souffrance des pauvres dans les pays pauvres et God bless you and your family
Malian student ,usa

By kerrie (user-0cdvdan.cable.mindspring.com - on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 7:28 pm: Edit Post

I offer my deepest condolences to the Merrill family. I knew Zach in college and I can sincerely say that his death is a great loss to anyone who knew him. Mear words cannot express how much the world has loss upon his death.

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.