Two American missionaries have been found dead in a rural area of Jamaica, police said Sunday. The two worked in the Caribbean island nation for a Pennsylvania-based religious group called Teams for Medical Missions.
The battered bodies of the missionaries, identified as Randy Hentzel, 48, and Harold Nichols, 53, were found in bushes in different areas of St. Mary parish, a region infamous for violent crime, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica said authorities were in touch with the families of the deceased, the report added.
No arrests have been made in the case and officials are yet to establish the motive behind the killings, which reportedly took place when the two were riding a bike.
“We do not know who would do this or what their motivation was. These men greatly loved the people of Jamaica and were greatly loved in return,” John Heater, executive director of Teams for Medical Missions, reportedly said.
Hentzel, a father of five, was a missionary in Jamaica for several years. His church in the U.S. urged the congregation to pray for him during “this time of shocking news and great loss,” BBC reported.
Fellow missionary, Merlin Pratt, said in a Facebook post that he was informed about the killings of the two men who were on their way to check on the foundations of a house they were building for an impoverished family.
“Harold and Randy were both great men of God who just loved Jamaica,” Pratt wrote, in the post.
According to the AP, Jamaica witnessed about 1,200 killings in 2015, an increase of roughly 20 percent from the previous year. The island nation with a population of about 2.7 million people has been ranked among the most violent countries in the world.