Grantsville, Utah resident Benjamin Cole, 19, and his missionary companion were approached by a small group of young men demanding money at about 3:30 local time in Huacho, Peru, a coastal city about 90 miles north of the capital of Lima. But before the missionaries could give the men any money, one stabbed Cole in the back. The knife missed most of Cole’s vital organs although it did nick his liver, and his missionary companion and passersby were able to slow the bleeding from the wound and get him to a local hospital, where he is currently recovering. Cole has been in Peru serving in the Peru Lima West Mission for eight months, and is expected to fully recover and complete his mission. Huacho is situated 92 miles north of Lima, and has a reputation for being a very safe area.
Local police investigating the incident have identified five men they suspect are responsible for stabbing Cole and a 15-year-old boy in separate incidents. The men range in age from 17 to 22 years old, and according to a Peruvian news report could be sentenced to imprisonment of 30 years to life. A Google English translation of the EcosHuachos newspaper identifies the assailants as Marco Antonio Padilla Arteaga, 22, Nilton Yontune Abriojo 19, Jonathan Yovera Osorio 18, Erick Salvador Iman 19 and an unidentified 17-year-old.
Benjamin Coles is the youngest of five siblings in his family, and the fourth sibling to serve as a full-time missionary.