Update on Death of Kirsten Elisabeth Wolcott, SDA Missionary on Yap

Last Thursday, the Habele Blog reported on the tragic death of Kirsten Elisabeth Wolcott, a Seventh-day Adventist student missionary in Micronesia.

Wolcott, a 20 year-old college student from Southern Adventist University (SAU), was serving as a teacher at the SDA school which several Outer Island children attend through Habele tuition scholarships.

Early accounts indicated that Kirsten Elisabeth Wolcott "had reportedly gone jogging by herself before morning classes and did not return."

Now, new details are beginning to slowly emerge from Yap, one of four States in the Federated States of Micronesa (FSM).

A Sabbath Blog is reporting that "According to the [SA] University, the FBI has made an arrest in connection to the murder."

Sources on Yap also indicate the deceased was found on the dirt road between Tom's store and SDA school by her students, whom the principal sent out to look for her in the morning. Kirsten, and avid runner, was often seen jogging and people on the small island knew her well because of this.

In 1983, the US and FSM governments entered into a status of Free Association. The ongoing agreement provides Micronesia with significant financial assistance in exchange for US defense rights in the region. It also allows for open and reciprocal travel rights for both countries' citizens, as well as access for Micronesian nationals to US social services and entitlements.

Under these terms, the Seventh-day Adventists, and other Christian missionaries, have expanded their presence in the islands, primarily through the construction of parochial K-12 schools.

It remains unclear how this agreement governs US law enforcement's involvement in domestic Micronesian crimes.

The Micronesian Seminar, an FSM based research and community development organization, has established an online forum for discussion of the incident here.

Habele's facebook page also has many comments and wall postings about the tragic death.