Parents of Slain Volunteer Say Peace Corps Error Led to Murder

Whistleblower's name revealed to suspect accused of sexually abusing children.

January 12, 2011, 12:03 PM

Jan. 14, 2011 — -- The family of a 24-year old Peace Corps volunteer from Atlanta, Kate Puzey, says agency personnel set her up to be murdered by revealing her role in the dismissal of an employee she accused of sexually abusing children at a school in the African country of Benin.

The young woman was found with her throat slit shortly after the employee, Constant Bio, a citizen of Benin, received word from Peace Corps officials that he would be dismissed from his contractor position.

"It just seems very obvious that that was the cause," said Puzey's brother David. "Kate was trying to protect these young girls who were being sexually abused."

The suspect has been in custody since the murder in March 2009 while authorities in Benin investigate. Bio asserted his innocence in a letter to a newspaper in Benin, claiming he was being framed by America.


Interviewed for a report on 20/20 tonight, Puzey's parents say the Peace Corps attempted to keep the case and the mistakes quiet, and keep them in the dark about what happened.

"It hurts us very deeply," said Kate's father, Harry Puzey.

"We wouldn't be sitting here, I think, if they had been more transparent with us, more honest with us," added Kate's mother, Lois.

Kate Puzey Heard Reports of Sexual Abuse

Peace Corps Promised Confidentiality

Puzey Family: 'Radio Silence' From Peace Corps

The Puzey family says the Peace Corps was "insensitive" in its treatment of them until officials learned ABC News had begun to look into the case.

Before that, the Puzeys say there was "radio silence" from Peace Corps officials, who arranged for their daughter's belongings to be delivered unceremoniously in a cardboard box left in the driveway.

"She was a hero," said Kate's father Harry. "And I thought maybe a representative would come or at least a letter in the box. Just a delivery man showed up with a box and that was it."

The Peace Corps says it is has now changed its procedures for dealing with the families of volunteers killed overseas.

Still, the Puzeys say much more could be done, including legislation that would give volunteers the same whistleblower protections afforded employees of the federal government.

"We want the Peace Corps to improve, to be what Kate Puzey wanted the Peace Corps to be and thought the Peace Corps could be and that's our mission," said Kate's father, Harry.

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Angela M. Hill, Hanna Siegel and Chris James contributed to this report.

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