Families seek to return missionaries' bodies home

Relatives of four West Michigan missionaries killed when their vehicle slid down a Haiti hillside are working with officials in that country to return the bodies to Grand Rapids.
AP Wire
Jan 16, 2013

 

There is a lot of paperwork and the families of Jim and Rita Cwengros, Matt Kutsche and Mary LaPonsie are dealing with a "Third World country," Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids spokesman Carl Apple said.

"They're trying to grease the right wheels to make this happen," Apple said. "... They're hoping it'll happen in the next few days."

The Cwengros, Kutsche and LaPonsie were killed Friday while traveling in a convoy of five vehicles with other missionaries on a medical mission to a parish in Seguin. They were driving through mountains south of Port-Au-Prince when their Toyota Landcruiser crashed through a barrier and down the hillside after its brakes failed, police in Haiti said over the weekend.

Their Haitian driver was hurt in the crash.

The entire group was to spend a week in Haiti, providing medical attention to villagers in the impoverished country.

LaPonsie and the Cwengros had been on more than a dozen previous missions to the village. They were members of the Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in Grand Rapids.

 

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