Updated: Tuesday, 17 Mar 2009, 7:02 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 17 Mar 2009, 11:36 AM EDT
A recent graduate of the College of William & Mary has been found dead in the West African nation of Benin.
The body of Kate Puzey, 24, a Peace Corps volunteer, was discovered outside her home and government officials believe she was murdered.
The State Department is working with authorities on the ground in Benin and with Puzey's fellow Peace Corps volunteers to find out exactly how she was killed.
After graduating from William and Mary in 2006, Puzey left the comforts of Williamsburg and headed for the desperately impoverished nation of Benin.
She spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching children to speak English.
Despite the difficult conditions, Kate loved her time there and cherished the people.
Then, a few days ago, Puzey was killed.
Her parents, in Atlanta are devastated. Kate was their only daughter.
"Kate loved the Peace Corps. She loved the Peace Corps. She loved the work," cried her father, Harry Puzey.
Puzey's family says they've been told investigators in Benin have a suspect and believe this was a murder.
"She said, 'Daddy nothing is going to happen to me but, if anything does, I want you to know that I am doing exactly what I want to do,'" said her father.
A Peace Corps official is expected to accompany Kate's body from Africa back to Atlanta in a few days.
The College of William & Mary released the following statement:
"We are deeply saddened to hear this tragic news. Kate Puzey
was one of us -- a member of the William & Mary family who
after graduation decided she wanted to help others, to make a
difference in this world, so she volunteered with the Peace Corps
and taught English to a small village in rural Africa. She was by
all accounts a remarkable person and will be greatly missed by
all who knew her.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kate's friends and family."
Brian Whitson, Director of News Services
Peace Corps director Jody Olsen says Puzey was an exemplary
volunteer for the agency in Benin where she taught at a rural
school in the village of Badjoude about six hours from the
capital of Cotonou.
"Kate's life and work spoke volumes about the kind of dedication
she had to her service as a volunteer, and the U.S. Peace Corps is
greatly saddened by her loss," Olsen said in a
Puzey had been working for the Peace Corps in Benin since July 2007.