- (Photo: REUTERS/Daniel Becerril)
A missionary couple who founded a church in Monterrey, Mexico have been found slain in their home and were buried on Thursday as dozens of gatherers paid their respects.
John and Wanda Casias, originally from Texas, were found by their son, Shawn Casias, on Tuesday, who discovered that someone had broken into their home, ransacked their possessions, and left the missionaries strangled. His mother had a gash from a blunt object on her head and an electrical cord around her neck, while his father, discovered a few hours later in a small storage room, had also been strangled with an electrical cord, the Associated Press reported.
Apparently, a number of valuables had also been taken from the home, including a couple of computers, a plasma television, a safe that had been chiseled out of the wall and their Chevrolet Suburban car.
"We're convinced that it's somebody he knew," Shawn Casias said, speculating about who could have done this. He also revealed that authorities had some leads based on people seen around the home.
The missionaries came to the violence-plagued region somewhere between the late 1970s or early 1980s, relatives say, and founded the First Fundamentalist Independent Baptist Church. According to another one of their sons, John Casias, the couple had spent 29 years in their ministry, praying and "saving souls" each day. They did so despite being aware of the crime rates in the turbulent region.
The couple owned a successful car dealership in Texas, the son said, but sold it to move to Mexico and share their belief in Jesus Christ with others.
"We were called to Mexico. These are our people," Casias shared what his mother had said to him.
John Casias, 76, was a Baptist preacher, ABC4.com shared, who had ties to the Bible Baptist Church in Taylorsville, Utah. The U.S. church reportedly helped fund many of the couple's missionary activities in Mexico.
The couple's official Website features reports on their missionary work in Mexico and the inspiration behind their mission.
"John and Wanda truly care, not just for the Mexican people, but about all the people. Their desire to be used of God, and to be a blessing to all those who God puts in their path," a note in the About Us section reads.
Last year, another American missionary couple was attacked in the same region, MSNBC news reported. Nancy and Sam Davis, also from Texas, who had been doing missionary work in Mexico for three decades were assaulted at an illegal roadblock. Mrs. Davis was killed when she was shot in the head, but Mr. Davis managed to speed away from the suspected drug cartel gunman who was after them, supposedly for their pickup truck.