No arrests in US missionary’s killing in Haiti

David McFadden

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian investigators have made no arrests and little progress in the May slaying of an elderly U.S. missionary who was stabbed at his rental home in the capital, authorities and former colleagues said Tuesday.

Police investigator Jean-Faustin Solomon said several people have been questioned since the May 13 attack but nobody has been arrested in the killing of 77-year-old George Knoop. He said the case remained an active investigation.

Knoop, a retired teacher from Chicago, mentored young men and led Bible study at the evangelical Quisqueya Chapel in the dusty, densely packed Delmas section of Port-au-Prince. He also worked as a volunteer for Florida-based Missionary Flights International in Haiti, where he began volunteering his time shortly after the destructive January 2010 earthquake.

Knoop was stabbed repeatedly at his Delmas residence, which he shared with two roommates who were away at the time. A computer was apparently stolen during the attack, but authorities have said it did not appear robbery was the main motive.

Knoop remained conscious long enough to call friends for help, but he died shortly after arriving at a hospital.

Fellow church member Zach Segaar-King said the missionaries still remain emotionally scalded. Since Knoop’s killing, he said, they are taking more safety precautions in Port-au-Prince and methodically “making sure doors are locked.”

Bobby Boyer, a Tampa, Florida native who is the Quisqueya Chapel’s senior pastor, said hopes Knoop’s killer will be brought to justice. “I’m trusting that there will be a breakthrough,” he said.

But arrests and convictions in killings are rare in Haiti, where there is a punishing backlog of criminal cases and an inefficient judiciary. Lynching of criminal suspects by vigilante mobs has long been widespread in Haiti, where many citizens don’t have much confidence in the justice system.

Teams of missionaries are a common sight on commercial flights to the Caribbean country. For decades, missionaries seeking converts have run a network of hospitals, orphanages, schools and food-distribution sites in Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest country.


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