City Hall prayer service held for missing Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bolivia: Peace Corps Bolivia : Peace Corps in Bolivia: City Hall prayer service held for missing Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, June 23, 2001 - 1:35 pm: Edit Post

City Hall prayer service held for missing Peace Corps

City Hall prayer service held for missing Peace Corps

City Hall prayer service held for missing Peace Corps volunteer Associated Press

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

LEOMINSTER, Mass. - A group of 25 city workers joined chief assessor Walter R. Poirier and the Rev. Steven M. Koroskenyi on the steps of City Hall to pray for Poirier's missing son.

The younger Poirier, also named Walter, is a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, who was last seen Feb. 22 in the South American country's capital, La Paz, where he attended a meeting.

Poirier stood quietly Tuesday as prayers were offered for the safe return of his son.

Poirier said he will continue to come to work, because it is his job and because it is better to keep busy. However he told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester that the prayer service and other gestures from his colleagues have helped him throughout his ordeal.

The Poiriers contacted Peace Corps officials March 4, saying they had not heard from their son. The next day, the Peace Corps declared the University of Notre Dame graduate missing.

At the urging of U.S. Rep. Martin T. Meehan, D-Mass., and the Bay State's two senators, Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, six FBI agents were sent to Bolivia to assist the Peace Corps and the Bolivian National Police in the search.

The younger Poirier went to Bolivia last year, and has been assigned for the last three months to work with villagers in the remote Zongo Valley to develop ecotourism.

Poirier said his son's Bolivian house was at least three miles from the nearest means of communication, a wireless radio. He believes his son is either injured, being held against his will or was forced into hiding out of fear.

Bill McCann, the chief aide for Meehan, said the congressman became concerned when he learned that the Peace Corps' chief investigator could not speak Spanish, and no one had transcribed the taped interviews with Spanish-speaking subjects, he said.

``Our nation has a responsibility to do everything we can, everything in our power to locate Wally,'' Meehan said. ``We need to do more when a young man is missing like this.''

Meehan had suggested that the Peace Corps examine the younger Poirer's e-mail for clues, but the Peace Corps said in a written statement released Monday that it was unable to gain access to Poirier's e-mail account because of federal privacy laws.

The investigation has included ground and river searches and continued questioning of neighbors, friends and colleagues. Also, investigators have monitored hospitals, jails, transportation centers and border crossings, according to Susan M. Buchanan, Peace Corps spokeswoman.

Investigators have retraced Poirier's route among his assigned communities in the Zongo Valley. They also filmed an appeal for information and have continued to air it on Bolivian television, Buchanan said, and have offered a reward.

The Peace Corps has had two other cases of workers disappearing in Bolivia, Poirier said. One was never found; the other was found to have died accidentally.

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.

Story Source: Boston Herald

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



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.