Body of U.S. missionary returned home

  • 2004-11-17
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - The body of Drew Rush, a 50-year-old missionary who was murdered in Riga during an apparent robbery, was returned to his family in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 12. His burial was held in the Church at Charlotte on Nov. 15. Rush had lived in Charlotte for nearly 20 years.

The American missionary was found murdered in his Riga apartment on Nov. 1. Although the victim was stabbed in the chest, police believe he was strangled first.

Police identified the two men charged with Rush's murder as Ingus, aged 22 and unemployed, and Karlis, aged 19 and a military conscript. Both assailants were said to have known him.

If convicted, the two could face jail terms ranging from 10 to 20 years or even life imprisonment.

The attackers allegedly entered Rush's apartment on Oct. 27, tied him up and stole 1,000 lats (1,450 euros) in addition to a pair of laptop computers. They reportedly killed him out of fears that he would turn to the police.

Uldis Davidovs, press secretary for the National Armed Forces, told the Baltic News Service that Karlis had been sent to a psychiatric ward for suspected mental problems on Oct. 20. He escaped five days later and was detained by military police on Oct. 29.

According to the Associated Press, Rush was working for a marketing firm in the United States when he saw a video by Campus Crusade for Christ that changed the direction of his life. Inspired, he joined the missionary group in 1995, heading first to Ukraine and then on to Latvia in 1999 where he used the Bible to teach English to soldiers and worked with military chaplains.

"When he saw that video he felt that God was leading him into the ministry full-time," said Rush's older sister, Rosemary Thacher, who is a missionary in Nigeria. "He had a heart for sharing the gospel, so there was no turning back."

Tragically, Rush returned to Riga after attending his mother's funeral in Richmond, VA. She had died of cancer.

The victim's family has asked that any gifts be donated to the Andrew Rush Memorial Fund to continue his ministry in Latvia. Checks may be sent to Campus Crusade for Christ, with attention to Memorial Account No. 2791517, 100 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, Fla. 32832.