March 15, 2002 - CNN: New push to find missing volunteer in Bolivia

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By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, March 23, 2002 - 4:29 pm: Edit Post

New push to find missing volunteer in Bolivia

Read and comment on this story from CNN on the new search for Walter Poirier, shown in the photo above, a PCV who has been missing in Bolivia for over a year at:

New push to find missing U.S. volunteer*

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

New push to find missing U.S. volunteer

March 15, 2002 Posted: 2012 GMT

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- More than a year after his disappearance, Walter Poirier's face will again be plastered throughout Bolivian bus terminals and city streets, this time on a poster listing an award for $25,000.

The award for information on the Peace Corps volunteer's whereabouts is up from $10,000, and is part of a new campaign being launched by the U.S. volunteer group on the anniversary of Poirier's disappearance to find out what happened to the missing American.

The Lowell, Massachusetts, native was declared a missing person last March 6, about two weeks after he had last been seen in La Paz, the capital city of this landlocked South American nation.

Poirier, a graduate of Notre Dame University, arrived to Bolivia in August of 2000, and had been working with indigenous families in a rural valley outside of La Paz. He was 22 when he disappeared.

FBI agents joined local police and Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy officials in the search for Poirier, but throughout the year there have been no ransom demands, no reliable sightings and no other clues as to his whereabouts.

"It's a complete mystery," said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy, who asked not to be named. "We just want to know what happened."

The campaign, which will be in full force by Monday, consists of television and newspaper advertisements showing Poirier's picture. National tabloids, which reach all classes of Bolivians, are being included, as is the city newspaper of Oruro, where it was rumored Poirier may have gone to celebrate Carnival last February.

The Peace Corps is also running frequent daily announcements on a radio station whose signal reaches the most remote sections of Bolivia.

Though many think it is highly unlikely that Poirier is alive, some members of his family appear to still have hope.

An advertisement that was paid for by his family and ran in three national newspapers in early February was directed toward Poirier. It said, in English, "Walter J. Poirier, if you see this ad and are able to call, please do so, no matter what. I miss you! Grampy."

Additional coverage on this story is available at Safety and Security of Volunteers

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; US Peace Corps - PCVs; COS - Bolivia



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