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Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
For week ended February 06, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Missionaries' Bodies On the Way Home
Salt Lake Tribune 31Jan00 N1
By Maggie O'Brien and Kati Jividen: Register Staff Writer

DES MOINES, IOWA -- The remains of the four LDS missionaries killed Friday in a head-on collision in Iowa will be returned to Utah soon, but the time of arrival will not be released at the request of their families. LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy explained, "The families want it to be private. "Funerals will probably be held at the end of the week."

The four missionaries were killed when the driver, Elder Jared Pulham, lost control of their car. Pulham was trying to pass another vehicle going the same direction on the two-lane highway. According to the Iowa Highway Patrol, Pulham crossed onto the shoulder of the opposite side of the highway. When he attempted to get back to the correct side of the road, he overcorrected, zig-zagging to the correct side of the road and back to the wrong side again. IHP Sgt. Dave Garrison said, "He was actually broadsided on the passenger side by the pickup."

The missionaries' vehicle rolled into a ditch on the wrong side of the road, ejecting two of the missionaries in the process. None of the missionaries were wearing seat belts, said the IHP's Garrison. He added that the driver of the pickup truck, Herman Heckathorn, 90, died in the flames that erupted after the collision.

The Elder's Mission President, Robert Rowley, told the Des Moines Register that the accident was a tragedy for the missionaries families, "The thing we out here can only think about is what a tragedy this is for them. To think their sons were going to be out here for two years . . . and will not be able to return home."

The families of the Elders remembered them as good sons. Some of the parents say that they had premonitions that their sons wouldn't return, and articles in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News record the families' reactions to the accident. Mission President Rowley told the Salt Lake Tribune that the Elders were, "perfect sons."

The deaths of these four missionaries come just one week after the death of Sister Melissa Peterson, of Snowflake, Arizona, who's death in a traffic accident in North Carolina received much less coverage. [See and for Mormon-News' coverage of that tragedy.] This many deaths is unusual for the LDS Church's missionary program, which may see just five deaths in most years, according to Mormon-News estimates. This is an extremely low rate when put in the context of 60,000 missionaries in the field.

Last year two missionaries drowned when a wave swept them from a rocky point of ground on the Canary Islands, and a Utah missionary was stabbed to death in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Give the poor coverage of the deaths of missionaries from outside of Utah, it is possible that there were other deaths last year.

See also:

4 missionaries, 1 other die in crash
Des Moines IA Register 29Jan00 N1
By Maggie O'Brien and Kati Jividen: Register Staff Writer

Crash victims called generous, active
Des Moines IA Register 30Jan00 N1
By Madelaine Jerousek: Register Staff Writer

Fiery Crash Kills Four Missionaries: LDS Utahns traveling Iowa road when they collided with a pickup
Salt Lake Tribune 29Jan00 N1
By John Heilprin nd Michael Vigh: Salt Lake Tribune

Presidency's condolences
Deseret News 30Jan00 N1

Bradly Alan Savage
Salt Lake Tribune 31Jan00 P2

Crash claims 4 LDS elders
Deseret News 29Jan00 N1
By Lois M. Collins: Deseret News staff writer
Missionaries all from Utah; Iowa man also killed

Families cling to memories of valiant sons
Deseret News 30Jan00 N1
By Zack Van Eyck and Lynn Arave: Deseret News staff writers
Plans are under way to return 4 bodies to Utah

Missionaries Killed in Iowa Crash Are Described as 'Perfect Sons' Who Believed in Their Work
Salt Lake Tribune 30Jan00 N1
By Michael Vigh: Salt Lake Tribune

And Mormon-News' summary of Saturday's Associated Press story, which appeared in newspapers across the U.S. is at:


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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information