Alumna in Peace Corps murdered in western Africa

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March 14, 2009

9:44 PM

An alumna serving in the Peace Corps was found dead outside her home in the western African nation of Benin Thursday. ABC News is reporting that unnamed officials have declared her death a murder, but neither the Benin government nor the United States State Department have officially determined her cause of death.

Catherine “Kate” Puzey ’06, of Cumming, Ga., was teaching English in the rural village of Badjoude, approximately six hours north of the capital city of Cotonou, where a memorial service will be held Monday, according to ABC News.

“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,” Acting Peace Corps Director Jody K. Olsen said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones at this time.”

Puzey had been working in Benin since July 2007. She was 24. Puzey studied sociology at the College of William and Mary.

“We are deeply saddened to hear this tragic news,” College spokesman Brian Whitson said in an e-mail to The Flat Hat. “Kate Puzey was one of us — a member of the William and 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.”

There are over 100 Peace Corps volunteers currently working in Benin.

_Check back with flathathnews.com for more on this developing story._

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