Adventist Student Missionary is Micronesia Murder Victim
Kirsten Wolcott, 20, was jogging when attacked, officials said
BY ANSEL OLIVER, Assistant Director for News, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Seventh-day Adventist student missionary who was teaching at the Adventist school on the Pacific island of Yap was found dead Wednesday, Nov. 18, the victim of an apparent homicide away from the school's campus, church officials said.
Kirsten Elisabeth Wolcott, originally from Virginia in the United States, had reportedly gone jogging by herself before morning classes and did not return, church leaders said.
Wolcott, 20, had taken a year off of school at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, where she was a junior education major.
Church leaders from the church's regional administrative headquarters, the Guam-Micronesia Mission, took the one-hour commercial flight from Guam to Yap Wednesday evening to assess the tragedy affecting the school and provide grief support for other teachers.
STUDENT MISSIONARY: Kirsten Elisabeth Wolcott, 20, was a Seventh-day Adventist student missionary on the island of Yap in the U.S. protectorate of Micronesia. She was found dead on Nov. 18, an apparent murder victim, church officials said. [Photo: Southern Adventist University]
Police have been notified and an investigation has begun, church leaders reported.
"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.
"Throughout the history of the church many have made the sacrifice to go serve and some have paid with their lives," Trecartin said. "Our prayer is that God will raise other people to finish the work that Kirsten and others started."
According to Ingrid Skantz, director of marketing and university relations at Southern, an on-campus memorial service for Kirsten will be held the week after Thanksgiving break. Details about the service will be announced, she said. The school is also offering counseling to its students.
“At a painful time such as this, we remember in prayer Kirsten' parents, friends, fellow Student Missionaries, and all on our campus who knew and loved her well,” Skantz said in a statement.
Yap SDA School opened in 1987 as an elementary school and subsequently expanded to a kindergarten through 12th-grade school. The school is highly rated on the island and is run mostly by Adventist college students volunteering as teachers. About 10 student missionaries are serving this year in Yap, Trecartin said. Teachers live in apartments on campus.
Yap, about 16 miles long and four miles wide, is one of four island states of the nation of Micronesia, a U.S. protectorate.