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Slain volunteer recalled
Family's story to air on TV
Peace Corps
Kate Puzey, right, a Peace Corps volunteer killed in March 2009 in Benin, is the subject of an upcoming 20/20 episode. - photo by File photo

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Kate Puzey graduated in 2006 from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. She kept a blog of her experiences in the Peace Corps. It can be found online beinginbenin.blogspot.com.

The family of a slain 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer will share their experience on television tonight.

An episode of ABC’s “20/20,” which includes the story of Catherine “Kate” Puzey, is scheduled to air at 10 p.m.

“We’re nervous about it,” said her father, Harry Puzey. “We have confidence in ‘20/20,’ but it’s very emotional for us.”

In an earlier interview, Puzey said a reporter and producer from the show went late last year to the village where his daughter lived in the west African nation of Benin.

Puzey said the producer told him it was obvious that people there were fond of his daughter.

“Everybody over there loved her,” Puzey said fighting back tears.

Kate Puzey’s body was found March 12, 2009, outside her home in the village of Badjoude, where she worked as an English teacher. She had reportedly died the night before.

Co-teachers and other students had come to her for help. They told her that another co-teacher, who was a contract employee of the Peace Corps and from Benin, was sexually abusing some of the female students at the school where they worked.

She tried to report the abuse anonymously, but was discovered.

Her murder happened within days of her reporting the other teacher.

Three people, including the teacher and his brother, were arrested shortly after her death. They have remained in jail since.

Puzey is battling cancer and will not be able to attend the trial, which he said could happen in February or March. However, his wife and son will make the trip.

Kate Puzey was a well-traveled young woman. Born in Germany, she graduated from high school in Okinawa, Japan, and spent her junior year of college studying in Montpelier, France.

Harry Puzey and her mother, Lois, have made their home in Forsyth County, where he has worked as a substitute teacher. His wife taught social studies at Little Mill Middle School until January 2010.

Puzey said the show will air in three segments.

The first will be about his daughter and her life, while the second will focus on the circumstances of her death. The final segment will address reforms for the Peace Corps.

Lois Puzey has said the organization was initially helpful and supportive but eventually stopped giving the family the answers they needed.

She and members of a small advocacy group formed on her daughter’s behalf went to Washington, D.C., in February seeking answers from Peace Corps officials.

She said the meeting was positive and productive. They also were able to speak with congressmen and senators about the matter.

Peace Corps representatives spoke last week with U.S. Sen Johnny Isakson about legislation for whistleblower protection for Peace Corps volunteers, Lois Puzey said.

She said she hopes the television show will shed light on what happened to her daughter and other issues with the organization.

“Our purpose was to tell our daughter’s story, but also to help the Peace Corps to become the Peace Corps that she believed in,” she said. “The one that respected and protected their volunteers and empowered their volunteers, too. So that was our purpose for doing it.”

Puzey said the loss of her daughter is still painful for her family and she hopes the trial, whenever it happens, will help bring closure.