The status of an American mission president serving in Guatemala is in question after a tragic accident on February 18 left one motorist dead and another gravely injured.
Rene Valenzuela Muñoz died upon impact when his motorcycle collided with an SUV in the city of Jalapa, east of Guatemala City. His companion, Patricia Seguros, suffered serious injuries.
According to some reports from low-level Guatemalan media outlets, E.J. Caffaro, the president of the Guatemala City South Mission, was the driver of the SUV and failed to stop at an intersection, but that is not necessarily clear. He was subsequently arrested and taken to the local police station as a formality, as is often the case in Latin American countries. The mission president and his passengers did not appear to sustain any injuries. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are extremely common across the developing world.
Information beyond that is scarce, but conflicting sources from within the Guatemala City South Mission have said that missionaries were told to remain in their homes until the 21st of February, and Caffaro remained at home while lawyers were allegedly working on a settlement for the family of the victims. This Week in Mormons cannot independently confirm those reports, so please remember the murky nature of details.
President Caffaro was called to preside over the Guatemala City South Mission in 2014 and has been presumably scheduled to finish his mission in July, as Mormon mission presidents typically serve for three years. At the time of writing, there is no information on whether the mission president will be taken out of Guatemala to serve elsewhere, released early, or if he will not have difficulty remaining in the country and continuing to serve. We have reached out to the Mormon Newsroom for further comment. This is a terrible tragedy for all parties involved and we can only hope the mission president, his missionaries, and the families of the victims are able to move forward quickly and with love and understanding.