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Student missionary from Laneview found murdered

Kirsten Elisabeth Wolcott of Laneview in Essex County, a 20-year-old Seventh-Day Adventist student missionary, was found murdered on the Pacific island of Yap after going jogging near the school where she was teaching, according to a story on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website.

Wolcott had taken a year off from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tenn., where she was a junior education major, according to an article on the Adventist News Network website.

An arrest has been made in connection with her death, said Louis Torres, president of the church’s Guam-Micronesia Mission.

Wolcott had gone running alone before morning classes, the article said. Her body was found with stab wounds in a wooded area.

“This is devastating news, not only for the family but for the school and the Adventist Church,” said Homer Trecartin, associate secretary for the Adventist world church and director of Adventist Volunteer Service.

Wolcott was known for her love of music and running, according to the Adventist News Network article. She played the harp and piano and sung in Bel Canto, the university’s women’s chorus. She won several 5k runs and placed third among women in the Toys for Tots 10k Race in Newport News.

Wolcott had previously volunteered on weeklong mission trips to Alaska and the Galapagos Islands, said Jose Rojas, the church’s North American Volunteer Ministries director.

“This is a difficult situation for the school, the mission and the Island of Yap,” Torres said. “The police officer said nothing like this has ever taken place in the past to a visitor.”

Yap, about 16 miles long and four miles wide, is one of four island states of the nation of Micronesia, a U.S. protectorate.

posted 11.29.2009

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