A Mormon Missionary Is Murdered in Mexico – All Quiet from Salt Lake

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Geoff Openshaw

Geoff Openshaw

Mormon missionary found dead in Mexico, either murder or suicide. Companion a prime suspect. No word on anything from Salt Lake.

Elder Peter Allen Maughan of Issaquah, Washington, a Mormon missionary, was found dead by his companion, Elder Pablo Francisco Rodríguez Alanís in their apartment on September 15  in the small Veracruz village of Tlacojalpan. Maughan was bound with cords and had a plastic bag over his head when he was found. It is being called a murder, but some have not ruled out suicide.

Sources are conflicted right now about how this happened. Some say that Rodríguez went out to grab lunch and the perpetrators arrived during the interim. Others say that Rodríguez went elsewhere in the apartment to grab lunch and then took a shower. Authorities theorize that more than one person could have been involved. Rodríguez has been held as a precautionary measure, but no charges have been levied.

Oddly, there’s just radio silence from Salt Lake. This Week in Mormons has contacted the Public Affairs department of the Church, but has yet to receive a comment. Admittedly, it is strange that when dealing with the other numerous missionary deaths over the past year, the Church has been pretty public about things, but all of these have been accidents or medical tragedies. We understand the Church treading lightly in the wake of a murder investigation, but it s certainly disconcerting that this happened five days ago and there hasn’t even been acknowledgement from Salt Lake.

But Elder Maughan’s Mormon.org profile has already been pulled. View a cached version of it here.

We’ll keep you updated here with further details as they come to light. In the meantime, here are some links, the majority of which are in Spanish.

Update – Sept 23, 2013 – 12:30 PM MST

Thanks to those of you who have left constructive comments. We weep together with the family of this lost missionary. It is a terrible tragedy and our hearts are with those most closely affected.

Some new information argues that Elder Maughan had shingles and his medication gave him suicidal tendencies. Allegedly the Mexican authorities refuse to release the body.

Update – 1:00 PM MST

More speculation on suicide. A source has had contact with Peggy Fletcher Stack, who said it was her understanding the death was the result of suicide, the Salt Lake Tribune doesn’t cover suicides. Still no word from Church HQ.

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