U.S. Missionary Killed in Belize

A Roman Catholic missionary to Central America was shot to death in his pickup truck last week in an apparent robbery, authorities said.

U.S. Missionary Killed in Belize(Photo: Kansas City Star)

According to the Associated Press, police were holding a suspect over the weekend in the Mar. 11 shooting of 64-year old Don Kostecki in Belize. Investigators believe he was attacked while inside his vehicle and dragged out by his assailant, who made off with some belongings.

"Attacks on priests are rare in Belize on the whole, but there is crime in the area," said Belize Police Department spokesman G. Michael Reid, according to AP.

After retiring as a hydrologist, Kostecki moved to Belize and was ordained as a deacon last July. He had served as a papal volunteer in Belize in the mid-1960s.

"He put all his trust in the Lord and was there to serve people," his wife Netti Kostecki told AP. "He knew what the Lord was calling him to do, and he was doing it."

John Henderson, who traveled to Belize last July for Kostecki's ordination as a deacon, knew Kostecki for more than 30 years and said his missionary work was a lifelong passion.

"While he was there, he really fell in love with the church and the people. From that time on, he always had the idea that he would go back there some day," Henderson told WIBW-TV Topeka.

Henderson and his wife attended church with the Kostecki family at St. Matthew's Catholic Church in Topeka. On Mar. 11, the church put news of Kostecki's death on its Web site.