— A Wisconsin teenager died on a church mission trip to
Panama this week, Panamanian authorities confirmed Friday.
of 16-year-old Malachi Taylor, of Beloit, was found on the
beach in the town of Las Lajas on Thursday evening after
an intensive search that lasted nearly two days. The
regional civil defense director in Chiriqui province,
Francisco Santamaria, told The Associated Press that the
youth was participating in a religious mission in the
community of Potrerillos, but had a day off and went to
youth's mother, Lisa Talyor, told the Beloit Daily News
that her son disappeared after saving a young woman from
drowning in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.
is about 280 miles west of Panama City. The rest of the
group from Good News Christian Church remained in Panama
on Friday. They're scheduled to return home Saturday.
said she received a distorted phone call from Panama on
Tuesday, but wasn't fully aware that anything was wrong
with her son until she received a visit from their pastor,
Clifton White, who told her Malachi had gone missing.
just devastated. It's hard to swallow," Taylor said.
"He begged me for over two months to go on this trip
and now he's dead."
described her son as "very biblical" and said he
devoted a great deal of his time to his faith.
went to church every Sunday, and would read his Bible all
the time," she said.
told the newspaper that his church will support the family
in any way it can.
was a very special young man. I loved him dearly,"