SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 23, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A 24-year-old missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died in an auto accident Wednesday while serving in Venezuela.
Elder Argenis Jesus Gonzales Villarroel, 24, died when the taxi he was riding in was involved in an accident, according to a statement made to local media by LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins.
“Elder Gonzales was being transferred from one area to another via a taxi service when the vehicle he was riding in was involved in a serious accident that killed three passengers. No other missionaries were involved,” Hawkins said.
“Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers are with his family and those who knew and loved him. We also pray for the families and loved ones of the other victims in the accident.”
Gonzales was among more than 500 LDS missionaries serving in Venezuela, the vast majority of whom are Venezuelan nationals.
In 2014, the Church announced 152 non-Venezuelan missionaries were being reassigned to other countries due to political unrest.
The LDS Church has an estimated 158,000 members in Venezuela.