Randy Hentzel and Harold Nichols, U.S. Missionaries, Found Slain in Jamaica

Teams for Medical Missionaries

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Jacquellena Carrero and Shamar Walters

Two U.S. missionaries who worked in Jamaica for more than a dozen years were killed over the weekend in a rural region that has been plagued by violent crime.

The bodies of 48-year-old Randy Hentzel and Harold Nichols, 53, were found in Saint Mary Parish, the Jamaican Constabulary Force confirmed.

"From the initial observations, it’s suspected that they were killed by gunshot wounds, but we are still waiting on the results of an autopsy," Constable Yolanda Henry told NBC News.

Hentzel's body was found on Saturday at one location in the parish, Henry said. Nicholas was found on Sunday in another location.

Harold NicholsTEAMS for Medical Missionaries

Police have not yet determined a motive for the killings or made any arrests.

Hentzel and Nichols had been living in Jamaica since 2002 with their wives. They worked for a Pennsylvania-based religious group called TEAMS for Medical Missions. They preached the Scripture and provided leadership training, according to the organization’s website.

“We do not know who would do this or what their motivation was," John Heater, Director of TEAMS, said in a statement. "These men greatly loved the people of Jamaica and were greatly loved in return.”

Randy HentzelTEAMS for Medical Missionaries

Randy Hentzel was from Ankeny, Iowa, according to his hometown First Family Church.

In a statement, the church said Hentzel was riding a motorcycle when he was attacked and killed.

“From what we currently know, he and his coworker, Harold Nichols, were out on a motorcycle ride and were attacked and murdered," the statement said. "Please pray for the Hentzel family in this time of shocking news and great loss."

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Kingston said they have been in touch with top Jamaican security officials.

“We are shocked and saddened by the senseless taking of life,” the spokesperson said.

Jamaica has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. The island nation had 1,205 murders in 2015 — the most in five years, according to a crime and safety report by the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council.

Corky Siemaszko contributed.