Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder in the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Work

Deborah Gardner
Deborah Gardner

Tonga was not so different during Gardner's time there.

Then as now, the pace was purely Polynesiana gear or two slower than laid back.

That suited Gardner, with her Pacific Northwest vibe.

In fact, if anything Nuku'alofa was too urban and fast-paced for her.

She taught at Tonga High School, located at the edge of the center of the city. But she chose to live in a rural setting among common Tongans.

Not that she was lonely. In her 10 months abroad, she had a series of brief relationships with fellow volunteers.

It seemed that everyone loved Deborah Gardner.

She was smart, alluring, funny and free-spirited. She had broken up with a college boyfriend before joining the Peace Corps, and she gave no indication that she was interested in settling down.

Her life was a wide-open adventure.

For reasons not entirely clear, Gardner decided that she would prefer to spend her second Peace Corps year teaching at a high school in Lifuka, a smaller town on another island about 100 miles north of the capital.

Perhaps she thirsted for new adventure. Perhaps she was weary of Nuku'alofa. Perhaps she had conflicts at Tonga High.

Or perhaps she was creeped out by Dennis.


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