puzey-k

Kate Puzey in Benin

A article today in the Forsyth County News in Georgia written by Julie Arrington talks about the family of Kate Puzey who was killed in March a year ago in Badjoude, Benin. Her mother, Lois Puzey, says that Kate discovered a co-teacher — not a Peace Corps Volunteer — was sexually abusing some of the female students at the school where they worked.

“Co-teachers and other students were upset and they came to Kate to try to get some help, to contact someone and try to get him out of the school,” Mrs. Puzey told the reporter. “She [Kate] tried to do that anonymously and unfortunately the anonymity was broken.”

Puzey said her daughter’s murder happened within days of her reporting the other teacher.

Kate Puzey’s body was found March 12, 2009. She reportedly died the night before.

A video about her has been posted online and Peace Corps Volunteers have put up a Facebook page in Puzey’s honor. The page encourages others to participate in a day of service in her memory.

Three people, including the suspect and his brother, were arrested a short time later. They have remained in jail since.

“We feel like she was a hero and we wanted people to know that,” Puzey said. “She was an amazingly courageous and compassionate person who stood up for those that couldn’t protect themselves.”

The case was originally set for trial in Benin last fall, but has been postponed until November.

Puzey said the Peace Corps was initially helpful and supportive. Eventually, she and her family weren’t getting the answers they needed.

She, along with members of a small advocacy group formed on her daughter’s behalf, went to Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago to get those answers from Peace Corps officials.

“That was a very positive and productive meeting in the end,” she said. “We also spoke to congressmen and senators that we felt could help us find out what we needed.”

Senator Johnny Isakson came to Kate’s funeral and has been very supportive of the family.

Kate Puzey joined the Peace Corps in July 2007. She was scheduled to return home last summer.