Two Christian missionaries from Iowa were found dead Saturday and Sunday in Jamaica where they were building homes from the poor and engaged in Bible Ministry.
Harold Nichols, 53, and Randy Hentzel, 48, were found dead and looked badly beaten. The bodies were in a rural area of the island nation.
According to the Jamaican daily newspaper, Jamaica Observer, the missionaries rented motorcycles and went out for a ride from which they would never come back. Hentzel’s body was found on Saturday, “face down with his hands bound with a piece of cloth believed to be torn from his shirt,” according Deputy Superintendent of Police Dwight Powell who spoke with Jamaica Observer.
Many local Jamaicans embarked on a hours long search Sunday for Nichols from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. According to the Jamaican Observer, “They later returned to search with the help of canines when the body was found.”
The two missionaries were “well-loved in the community,” according to Sharon Scott of the Red Cross in Boscobel, the area of Jamaica the two men worked in. They were known for hosting a Bible Study for children in their home.
The two men belonged to a Pennsylvania-based organization called TEAMS for Medical Missions. According to the organization’s website, “Right now, there are two missionary couples serving in Jamaica. Harold and Teri Nichols and Randy and Sara Hentzel work with Jamaican churches to try to help them toward their God-given vision. Besides their ongoing full-time missionary work, they also host and provide direction for the J-Teams, remaining after these groups return home to preserve and also to increase the fruit of their brief visits.”
Nichols and Hentzel had been going to Jamaica for 14 years to work on various issues with the community. Jamaica is known as a very violent country and, “had at least 1,192 slayings in 2015, a roughly 20 percent increase from the previous year,” according to the Associated Press.
Jamaican security officials as well as the families of Nichols and Hentzel, have been contacted by the U.S. Embassy on the island nation. To commemorate the death of Hentzel, his church in Iowa released a statement which in part reads, “Please pray for the Hentzel family in this time of shocking news and great loss. And be ready, as always, to serve and minister to this family in the days ahead. It’s in this time that we as a body need to weep with them and wrap our arms around them.”
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