16 Stories

2 US Missionaries Murdered in Jamaica

Their bodies were found dumped in rural area

(Newser) - Jamaican police said Sunday that two US missionaries were found slain in a rural area of the Caribbean island that has long struggled with high rates of violent crime. The Jamaica Constabulary Force identified the two men as Randy Hentzel, 48, and Harold Nichols, 53, the AP reports. Their battered... More »

Church Staged Teen Kidnap to Teach Persecution

Authorities investigating after bruised girl, 14, files complaint

(Newser) - County prosecutors are investigating mock "abductions" orchestrated by a Pennsylvania church that left one 14-year-old girl bruised, battered, and terrified, according to authorities. The horrifying ordeal was intended to teach the unsuspecting teens at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown about persecution of Christian missionaries, reports the... More »

Texan Missionaries Slain in Mexico

John, Wanda Casias found dead in home near Monterrey

(Newser) - An elderly missionary couple from Texas have been murdered in the Mexican town where they lived and preached since 1979. John and Wanda Casias were found dead in their home in Santiago, near Monterrey, in an area ravaged by battling drug cartels. They were strangled with electrical cords, and a... More »

Haitians Attack US Motorcycle Missionaries

Group has narrow escape from angry mob

(Newser) - Missionaries from the Christian Motorcyclists Association went to Haiti to distribute motorbikes to pastors but found themselves in what could have been a scene from Mad Max as they tried to flee a city torn by riots. The 11 missionaries, after days holed up in a hotel in Cap-Haitien as... More »

Vatican Seeks to Win Back the West

New council to 're-evangelize' wealthy countries

(Newser) - Never had a Catholic missionary knocking on your door? That could soon change. Pope Benedict XVI, lamenting "the eclipse of a sense of God" in Europe and North America, has launched plans to "re-evangelize" the West, the Telegraph reports. The newly created Pontifical Council for New Evangelization will... More »

Haitian Judge Drops Charges Against Most Missionaries

Two still face 'irregular trip' charges

(Newser) - A Haitian judge said today that he has dismissed kidnapping and criminal association charges against 10 American missionaries detained for trying to take a busload of children out of the country after the Jan. 12 earthquake. But Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said Laura Silsby, the last of the 10 missionaries jailed... More »

Freed Missionaries Land in Miami

Two remain in Haitian custody

(Newser) - Eight bedraggled, sweat-stained American missionaries landed in Miami early this morning aboard a military cargo plane after nearly three weeks in a Haitian jail. "They're very tired," said Caleb Stegall, a district attorney in Kansas who has been helping some of the missionaries. "They've had quite an... More »

Haiti Probes Adviser to US Missionaries

Jorge Puello suspected of sex trafficking; Americans stay in jail

(Newser) - Police in El Salvador suspect the man advising the 10 American missionaries being detained in Haiti may also be the leader of a sex trafficking ring. When the Haitian judge presiding over the Americans’ case got wind of the investigation yesterday, he said he’d launch his own inquiry into... More »

Haiti Judge Recommends Freeing Americans

Prosecutor has chance to agree or object

(Newser) - The Haitian judge deciding whether 10 US missionaries should face trial on charges of trying to take a busload of children out of the country says he will recommend they be released. Judge Bernard Saint-Vil finished questioning the Americans yesterday. He now must send his recommendation to the prosecutor, who... More »

Cop: Baptists Tried to Grab Haiti Kids Earlier

Group caught with a busload of 40 kids last month

(Newser) - The Baptist missionaries jailed on kidnapping charges in Haiti tried not once, but twice, to take kids out of the country, according to a Haitian police officer. The officer stopped the group last month and ordered some 40 children off their bus as they headed from Haiti to the Dominican... More »

Haitian Parents Turned Over Kids to US Baptists

Villagers contradict missionaries' account

(Newser) - Parents in an earthquake-devastated Haitian mountain village who feared their children would starve handed the kids over to the American missionaries accused of trafficking , villagers said yesterday, contradicting the Baptist group's claim that the children were turned over by orphanages or distant relatives. Many of the parents said they won't... More »

Mormon Hunks Have Church Up in Arms

Maker of Mormon calendar excommunicated

(Newser) - An entrepreneur who says his aim was to improve the image of Mormons has been excommunicated by the church for publishing a calendar with photos of shirtless members of the faith. The “Men on a Mission” calendar doesn’t “tear down the beliefs of the church at all,... More »

US Families Sue Chiquita Over FARC Murders

Claim protection cash to Colombia rebels tied to missionary slayings

(Newser) - Fruit giant Chiquita stands accused in a federal lawsuit of contributing to the deaths of five US missionaries at the hands of Colombian rebel group FARC during the 1990s, the Wall Street Journal reports today. Families of the missionaries say protection money the Cincinnati-based company admitted to secretly paying the... More »

Taliban: Korea Paid $4M Ransom

Commander says Seoul paid millions to release hostages

(Newser) - The Taliban released 21 South Korean hostages five months ago only after Seoul paid at least $4 million in ransom, a senior insurgent commander now claims. Contrary to South Korea's official denial to Newsweek that money changed hands, the commander said freeing the missionaries without recompense "would not have... More »

Mormons Look to Next Prophet

Hinckley's successor all but certain

(Newser) - The death of longtime president-prophet Gordon Hinckley left the Mormon church with a void but not a leadership gap, Newsweek reports. The most senior leader and all-but-certain successor is Thomas Monson. The 80-year-old's selection, which must be unanimous, would all but guarantee a smooth transition for a thriving church undergoing... More »

Body of Second Korean Hostage Found

More will die unless prisoners are freed, kidnappers warn

(Newser) - Afghan police have found the body of a second Korean hostage killed by the Taliban, Reuters reports. The man was shot in the head, and his body found in a clover field close to the spot where 23 Korean missionaries were kidnapped last week. The kidnappers have threatened to kill... More »

16 Stories