Death of Debbie Gardner by Dennis Priven

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Carol Bellamy: Death of Debbie Gardner by Dennis Priven

By Sondra Cooper ( - on Sunday, October 24, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit Post

Ms. Bellamy, I have just heard of a murder in the Peace Corp committed by Dennis Priven, Debbie Gardner, being the victim. Not only was this horror covered up, but the killer went on to get a high paying job with Social Security. I absolutely could not believe this was happened in my country, but covered up and the s.o.b. rewarded. As the mother of four daughters I can only say that Priven is extremely lucky he picked Debbie and not one of my daughters, he would only be a very bad memory today. i hope that some of you people today in charge of the Corp can go back and get some justice for this beautiful young girl whose only wrong was too help others less fortunate than herself. I don't intend to let this just go away.

By Desiree ( - on Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 11:48 pm: Edit Post

I agree. something needs to be done about this. Unbelievable that Priven got away with it and George helped him...Did anyone ever wonder why George covered for Priven? Please go back and get justice for this beautiful person Debbie Gardner and her family. George should be punished as well. Was it not enough that Gardner spoke Priven's name when asked by the Peace Corp drive by "Who did this?" and also the then 15 year old that witnessed Priven leaving her hut? What kind of country are we?!

By Anon ( - on Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 11:14 pm: Edit Post

I too am disgusted by this. This deviant MUST be brought to justice, and the Peace Corps should issue a full disclosure on this matter, with restitution made to the girl's family. I am contacting all my Representatives about this as well. I would urge the "new" Peace Corps to take immediate action on this matter, before it is dragged down. If it doesn't, I and many others will be sure to keep this in the forefront of people's minds until justice is done.

By Delores Landeis ( - on Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 10:54 pm: Edit Post

I just saw "48 Hours:Mystery" about the death of Debbie Gardner and her killer, Dennis Priven. To know that Mr. Priven not only got away with the murder, but was shielded by the Peace Corps and the US Government, is another murder in and of itself.

By Rob ( - on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 3:21 pm: Edit Post

I just learned not only of the murder of Debbie Gardner but the deliberate actions by the Peace Corps and the government to ensure that Dennis Priven was never held accountable. I will never donate a dime to the Peace Corps and I will attempt to dissuade anyone I know from joining such a duplicitous and self-serving organization.

By CarmenBailey ( - on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 10:19 pm: Edit Post

Hi Rob;

Peace Corps Volunteers are not the
problem... you know... we are the ones
who do the actual work and put a huge
effort and stake into upgrading of
Citizens of Planet Earth.

It's the Evil in our government... Evil Ones
who actually sit on their buns and draft
sudden dictates for their kind. They tried
to let me die [I'm not their kind]; see
Malaria in the Library with my two entries
along with many other entries and get on the bandwagon. We need your strong input. In this edition there are addresses of CongressPersons
to contact for starters.

Carmen Bailey

By Safety and Justice ( - on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 7:55 am: Edit Post

You should ask Carol Bellamy about the Karen Phillips case and the Nancy Coutu case.

Unsafe Policy they inflicted on us with cover up behind it.

In the Priven Case, Zigmond Lebensoln must be investigated on how many misdiagnosis he did for Peace Corps to ruin the lives of many former volunteers including covering up for the murder of Deborah Gardner. Lebensoln is dead. Investigate his cases. Action is being taken.

By MICHAEL CONWAY ( - on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 10:39 pm: Edit Post

FROM: CONWAYMSR(AT)HOTMAIL(DOT)COM ... I apologize for being soo LATE to the party (So to Speak) but I just saw an old news related program on TV ("48 Hours:Mystery") that discussed the murder of Debbie Gardener by Dennis Priven. I "Googled" Dennis PUKE (Priven) and this site popped up (Among others). I have just begun my feeble crusade to see this Low Life punished for his crime.

Your postings lead me to believe that, even these many years later, I could post here for information updates that might have been gained in the interim.

To see what damage this crazed animal did, how he spit in our collective eye and how our elected and non-elected government personnel covered it up and even rewarded him with an $80,000 / yr job in government, literally turned my stomach!!

Since I have just begun my quest to destroy this Filthy Bastard, any information and /or assistance any of you you might provide will be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks in advance!!

Michael Conway
Duvall, Wa.

By Lee Anthony Nieves ( - on Monday, June 05, 2006 - 3:10 pm: Edit Post

We've got murderers, rapists, and child molesters going to jail after cold case detectives years if not decades later looking at the aged evidence one last time, and with the help of DNA. I am sure there is a detective or two, and a US district attorney, willing to dig up the facts, get the evidence, bring in the witnesses to a US federal court at US cost, and help bring this Dennis Priven bastard to justice.

By Anonymous ( - on Thursday, August 17, 2006 - 12:42 am: Edit Post

"American Taboo" by Phillip Weiss is an outstanding book if you are looking to read more about Deborah Gardner's murder.

By Frank Phillips ( - on Sunday, October 01, 2006 - 10:23 pm: Edit Post

Just read about this disturbing case at the Crime Library website. May have to get the book.
I don't know what is more disgusting, the murder, the cover up, or Dennis Priven's life after the event.

Hey Dennis! Here's to you getting stomach cancer, or coming to some equally vile end.
You Yellow scumbag!

By righteousness ( - on Sunday, January 07, 2007 - 11:08 pm: Edit Post

Spot on. Lots of people would commend you for your efforts, including myself.

By Anonymous ( - on Sunday, May 06, 2007 - 11:21 pm: Edit Post

Hey Dennis, if it had been our daughter, you'd have been dead a long time ago. Saw you on tv, what a
fat ugly nothing you are.The Peace Corps owes the Gardener family an apology and a settlement for refusing to respond to her plea for help when she asked to be transferred. Her family should have sued you. They should sue you now. And you will never apologize because you are just another cowardly greedy arm of the U.S. Government filled with weak parasitic bureaucrats guided by one principle -- to justify their fat cat, do nothing existence.

By Jamie Simmons ( - on Monday, September 17, 2007 - 9:02 pm: Edit Post

Denis Priven is a sick, sadistic, inhumane individual!! How dare you take the life of a young, innocent, vibrant, beautiful young woman! If I were in Tonga the evening that you killed Deb, I would have killed you myself.My purpose in life is to make sure that I protect society from monsters such as yourself. In fact I won't rest until you face the consequences of what you have done. One way or another justice will be served. I think that it's time for you to meet your maker, denis. So why don't you do the world a favor and kill yourself? Nobody will miss a cold blooded killer...........

By cosette_1 ( - on Sunday, September 23, 2007 - 10:23 pm: Edit Post

i just saw a special on telivision this evening on discovery times. Its people like this who will out live everyone.

I hope I don't run into him on the subway.Oy vay

By Anonymous ( - on Monday, September 24, 2007 - 5:22 pm: Edit Post

doesn't this guy have neighbors? I would sit outside every day till he comes out, and beat his ass, again, and again. And, way to go, justice system. Droped the ball again.

By sarah schaefer ( on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 11:37 am: Edit Post

Just finished reading the book American Taboo- and am very disgusted with the outcome of this horrific crime. Is there anything we can do about this? Is it true that his US record is clear of wrongdoing, and it is too late to pursue justice for poor Wayne Gardner? Does anybody know??

By Carol Hammond ( - on Sunday, January 27, 2008 - 2:21 pm: Edit Post

What a sad story . People do get by with murder in our country . I know the sad truths , my husband was murdered in 1980 . His killer has to this day never even been arrested . I feel sorry for Deb's family and friends . I say our goverment needs to reopen this case . Shame on the Peace Corps for helping cover this up .

By Jack Johnson ( - on Sunday, January 27, 2008 - 6:59 am: Edit Post

It seems there are many people who believe in vigilante justice posting here.
I just hope that your sense of outrage, which is legitimate in itself, also extends to recent cases where husbands, who are fathers and handsome men, are shot by their wives as they sleep and whose despicable murderers walk off scott free after claiming their husbands were past abusers, even when the children say the opposite.

Do you want to see those evil women beaten and hanged as well?

This case is an injustice, but outrage against injustice is quite gender biased, isn't it?

By Nancy Yaras ( - on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 10:24 pm: Edit Post

I just saw this story on 48 Hours. I thought the Peace Corps was a respectable organization. This is a disgrace. I am sure if the Peace Corps put their minds to it they could find a way to put Dennis Priven on trial for real. He wasn't tried in the U.S. And who's bright idea was it to reward Dennis Priven for murder by giving him a job with social security. I suppose he is collecting a government pension now too. The Peace Corps should stop worrying about covering their asses and get off them and do something about this travesty. And the former beauty queen George should be punished as well. No wonder everyone hates America.

By Anonymous ( on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 3:40 pm: Edit Post

I juss saw the 48 hours mystery two weeks ago about the murder. i was very furious even more angry at the fact that he had a social security job. man i can't believe this. it's crazy but it's a true saying "if you commit a crime in Tonga, it will follow you to the end" hope he suffers for what he did.

By Anonymous ( on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 3:40 pm: Edit Post

I juss saw the 48 hours mystery two weeks ago about the murder. i was very furious even more angry at the fact that he had a social security job. man i can't believe this. it's crazy but it's a true saying "if you commit a crime in Tonga, it will follow you to the end" hope he suffers for what he did.

By Anonymous ( - on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 1:47 am: Edit Post

I am sad and pissed off at this. I hope that bastard Dennis will get justice. He'll get his punishment. As for those cowards in the Peace Corps including those that were in Tonga at the time that covered this whole thing up, I'm pretty sure, they look back and regret what they did. As most of you have said, the least right thing to do now, is for the Peace Corps to look into this and come out with the truth and own an apology to the family of the girl.

Someone should email this story to CNN or FOX as a possibility of them covering it because it would be good to watch something different then this race to the White House thing.

By Robert M. Kern ( - on Friday, March 07, 2008 - 11:00 pm: Edit Post

Well, it looks like O.J. Simpson isn't the only one to have gotten away with murder. The only real difference between the two cases is that, while the O.J. trial was a national--and even international sensation(!)--this one WASN'T. Hence, not too many people are aware of who this Dennis Priven is even NOW, well over 30 years after the 1976 murder in Tonga that he committed.

But here's a suggestion that perhaps hasn't been thought of just yet: why not bring about a wrongful death lawsuit against him? While he is protected by double jeopardy laws, he probably wouldn't be immune from such a lawsuit. This could come from the family of the murdered girl, Deb Gardner.

Once again, we arrive back to an O.J. Simpson parallel--even though he was acquitted in the criminal courts, he was later succesfully sued in the civil courts. Granted, this Dennis Priven case here is now an eternity ago but, when dealing with murder, there is no statute of limitations!!

By Anonymous ( - on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 11:56 am: Edit Post

Dennis Priven - I just saw you on 48 hours Mystery. All I have to say is that you murdered a beautiful angelic woman and you are now an ugly, mo mo looking nerd. She was right - what woman would ever want you. You are butt ugly - then and now - but even more now. What a loser. I hope you rot in hell ugly nerd with the big ugly stomach and butt. What woman would ever want to have sex with you or even kiss you for that matter - especially with that ugly space between your teeth and your coke bottle ugly butt glasses. That is why she didn't want you - you ugly nerdy nerd. What woman would - EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

By nia at Holland ( - on Saturday, April 19, 2008 - 11:15 am: Edit Post

I just read in crime library about Deborah Gardner and i feel so sad! Why? Especially heart broken when i knew that THE Peace Corps have helped a killer free is very disturbing!! What is the main goal as a PEACE corps then? just going around talking about a peaceful world when in fact they tried to cover up a murder! So tell me Peace Corps ,...what kind of peace you guys " the good doers" mean??? Unfortunately it means NOTHING. Dennis Priven,.. I know for sure you will meet a very bad end at the end of your life since God wont forget . What goes around will comes around.

By AndyForeman ( on Friday, March 13, 2009 - 3:40 pm: Edit Post

I also just read about Deborah Gardner murder. First, my sympathies to her family and loved ones even so long after this tragic event. To Priven, may you rot in hell you piece of garbage.

But to the Peace Corps - my son has talked about doing a stint with the Peace Corps and after reading this mess, the answer is NO - I am even ashamed to be an American after reading how this case was handled - it's disgusting, and I will never hear the term "Peace Corps" again and think a positive thought.

I would also like to comment that Mary George, the Peace Corps official who went out of her way to hide and obscure this murder, well, may you also rot in hell with your "buddy" Dennis Previn.

This murder did not have to happen at all - but regardless, and due to the fact that it did (even though its decades old), you would think that my country, the USA, always touting itself as some great moral lighthouse in a dark world - well, in this case we are as bad as Hitler's Germany, covering up, and protecting a sick worm of a killer.

May God have mercy on the soul of Deborah Gardner, and may he wreak havoc on Dennis Previn, Mary George and any human being who shuns a life lost so tragically and horribly, and then added the insult of ocver-up, and vengance.

By j.d. thomas ( on Monday, September 10, 2018 - 6:21 am: Edit Post

i just saw the 48 hours story.. How could the government cover up such a grissly crime. Someone should shoot that bastard.. i hope when he dies he will rot in Hell.

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