October 27, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Life of intrigue leads to murder of volunteer

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: October 26, 2003: Dayton Daily News reports on Peace Corps Safety and Security: Archive of Primary Source Stories: October 27, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Life of intrigue leads to murder of volunteer

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-165-54.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 1:39 am: Edit Post

Life of intrigue leads to murder of volunteer

Life of intrigue leads to murder of volunteer

Life of intrigue leads to murder of volunteer

Woman drawn into dangerous lifestyle during service

By Russell Carollo and Cesar Jimenez Callaba

Dayton Daily News

LBOLOTE PRISON, Spain | Pompey Miranda Ruiz recalled the day he shot and killed his girlfriend, an American Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia named Gloey Wiseman.

"We had a big fight," he said during an interview inside a prison classroom here.

Wiseman is one of at least 20 Peace Corps volunteers murdered since 1966, including one killed shortly after leaving service. She is also one of at least three volunteers to die in Bolivia. Another volunteer, Walter Poirier, has been missing since 2001.

Little about Wiseman, Miranda, their relationship or the odd tale surrounding the Oct. 13, 1991, murder resembles the type of behavior most people associate with the Peace Corps.

Like many who join Peace Corps, the 46-year-old Wiseman was undecided on her next step in life.

"Some people go into the Peace Corps because they're really idealistic and they're full of energy and want to help and do things and get out and see the world," said John S. Hale, acting inspector general for the Peace Corps in the early 1990s. "Some are fleeing. Some are misfits looking for their next adventure and they get mixed up in all kinds of stuff in foreign countries, with drugs, with other things."

For more than 10 years, Wiseman helped run her father's greeting card store in a Denver shopping center. After her father sold the store in the mid-1980s, she enrolled at the American Graduate School of International Management campus in Glendale, Ariz., earning a master's degree in international management in 1989.

After a brief stint with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Denver, Wiseman applied for work at the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Foreign Service in Washington, D.C., according to relatives, who provided copies of her job applications.

But in 1990, Wiseman instead joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Santa Cruz, a tropical city that was, according to police, a center for the illegal drug trade.

Relatives said they weren't aware Wiseman was even in the Peace Corps.

"I was under the impression that Gloey was connected with the DEA, mainly because of my conversation with her before she left for Bolivia," said Sherry Mays, a cousin.

In copies of letters provided by her sister, Wiseman writes to her relatives about American government activities in Bolivia, but she never makes it clear she's in the Peace Corps.

"We never knew she was in the Peace Corps," said Wiseman's sister, Peggy Francis of suburban Denver. "She was an odd individual. She was just different. . . . She wanted us to think she was doing something more important. She didn't think the family, especially my dad, would think that the Peace Corps was worthy of her."

In Santa Cruz, Wiseman was assigned to give advice to small businesses, but Miranda said she rarely worked. She frequented a bar popular with Germans and other foreigners, and it was there she met the 26-year-old waiter.

Miranda came to Bolivia from his native Spain, where he had five previous arrests and was wanted for desertion from the army. His attorney, Shirley Fatima Beccerra, now a judge in Santa Cruz, said her client also had abused drugs in Spain, and that he might have moved to Bolivia to get drugs.

"He told me that they moved in together and that their relationship started moving on," she said during an interview in her office in the main courthouse in Santa Cruz. "He liked her because what they had in common was that together they got drugs."

The two lived together in an apartment Wiseman rented for about $250 a month in a white stucco building just off the main road in Santa Cruz.

Police Detective Jose Parra Heredia of Santa Cruz, who investigated the murder, also said the two used drugs together, but he added that there were no drugs found in the apartment.

"They were always partying together in the apartment," Beccerra said. "It was always busy. It was never-ending.

"And at one of those parties they took drugs and apparently there was a discussion. They were alone in the apartment after the party, and he shot her that night. He left her in the bed."

Wiseman's body lay in the bed for days before Miranda returned with a large barrel. He put her body in the barrel and drove to a small lake about 45 minutes outside the city. Police found the body after Miranda's arrest and subsequent confession.

After Miranda killed the Peace Corps volunteer, he burned hundreds of pages of documents belonging to her, apparently believing she had gathered incriminating evidence against him, Heredia said.

She was declared missing after neighbors began to complain of the smell and flies coming from the apartment, apparently caused by the blood and other fluids left by the body.

American authorities suspect that at least part of the motive for the murder was that Wiseman left the false impression with people that she worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Miranda, during the prison interview, said he believed Wiseman was trying to investigate him, but he added that Wiseman "invented her own intrigues."

"While I was asleep, she took the details (information) from my passport and driver's license," he said. "What she wanted to do was attract me to her so as to become her snitch."

Why did he kill her?

"It happened because I went to the bar and a client told me that I was going to be killed," he said. "It was a result of what I had been telling her and they were going to kill me. I was terrified. I went straight home and we had a big fight."

Within days of the murder, Miranda was arrested, but six months later he escaped. He was eventually recaptured in Peru and sentenced to 30 years in Wiseman's murder.

While in prison, Miranda shot a gang leader, who survived, and beat another inmate to death with a rock because he had tried to use his shampoo, Detective Heredia said. In 1999, with the help of the Spanish government, he was transferred to the Valdemoro prison in Spain and later moved to the prison here at Albolote.

[From the Dayton Daily News: 10.27.2003]

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Story Source: Dayton Daily News

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



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