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US Man Killed in Andaman: Cops Probe Chau’s Meet With 2 Americans

In his journal entry from 14 November, John mentions two people, who the police are now looking to investigate.

Published
India
3 min read
US Man Killed in Andaman: Cops Probe Chau’s Meet With 2 Americans
i

Following American Christian missionary John Chau’s death in Andaman, the police are trying to piece together what happened in his final days. The 26-year-old’s mission was to go to the North Sentinel Island, a protected tribal reserve, and preach Christianity to the Sentinelese tribe, which lives in isolation, shunning contact with the outside world.

A crucial piece of evidence for the police here is John’s 13-page journal, which he wrote in right up until 16 November. He is believed to have been killed by the Sentinelese tribe on 17 November, when he attempted to make contact with them once again after a less-than-pleasant encounter the previous day, where tribespersons attacked him.

In his journal entry from 14 November, John mentions two people who the police are looking to investigate now.

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Writing from a “safe house” in Port Blair, John’s second line of the said entry reads, “Bobby and Christian left five days ago and it was such an encouragement to see them.”

The Andaman police are investigating whether these two people were acquaintances who helped John plan the mission to the North Sentinel Island, where no one is allowed to enter unless they have specific permissions from the authorities. Police also believe that John planned to stay on the island for a few days.

Andaman DGP confirmed to TNM that they were investigating John Chau’s daily activities, including his meetings with two American citizens, Christian Vaughan and Bobbie Stratman.

Looking through John’s social circle on social media, TNM found profiles of Christian and Bobby. Here’s what their social media activity revealed about them.

Christian

Christian and John both went to the Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, an institution that is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The University was founded in 1965 by evangelist Oral Roberts after whom it is named.

While John’s Instagram profile makes it clear that he was an adventure enthusiast, Christian’s profile appears to indicate similarly. In fact, photos from 2015 show that Christian and John went to Mount Cook in New Zealand together. The captions of Christian’s photos show a similar interest in Christianity as John. For instance, one of the captions on a picturesque photo from this same trip reads, “Just think, God chose to create this magnificent beauty just to woo our hearts.”

The two seemed to have shared a close friendship. In one post, Christian even says that John is his “MCM”, a popular social media, “Man Crush Monday”.

Calling John the “most adventurous man” he knows, Christian declared him as his ‘MCM’, and thanked him for planning a backpacking trip to the North Cascade National Park in Washington.

Incidentally, there is a comment by the social media account of ORU Missions and Outreach, saying they love John, referring to him as “Chau boy”. A glance through this ORU account in question reveals that those who participate in the program often go to different places in the world to preach Christianity.

Following John’s death, Christian also spoke to the Scottish Daily Mail, referring to John as “heroic” and “selfless”. “He was heroic – he would always lead from the front. He was selfless and one of the most interesting men I have ever met. He was just a very brave man,” Christian told the publication.

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Bobby

Andaman DGP Dependra Pathak told TNM that ‘Bobby’ who met John before November 14 is a woman in her 50s. Bobbie, as she writes her name on social media, has listed her designation as “Pastor/Trainer/Teacher/Counselor” at Empowering Grace International, a missionary organisation which works extensively in Southeast Asia.

Bobbie has several recent photos from Nepal, Thailand and Hong Kong which show her in educational institutions, with groups of women, ‘pastor wives’ and people in need.

She, like John, had come to India before as well. A photo of hers from October last year mentions that it was her fifth and final training on this trip to India. Taken in Ahmednagar, the caption of this photo reads, “I still have more preaching and ministry before I depart next Thursday for Bangkok. This was a wonderful, hungry class taking 215 curriculum to disciple believers. (sic)”

The police will also investigate whether John and his friends had visas that allowed them to participate in missionary activities.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute).

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