April 30th, 2010
09:12 AM ET

American priest stabbed to death in Venezuela

An American priest has been stabbed to death in Venezuela, authorities said in a statement.

Esteban Woods, a 68-year-old priest from Vancouver, Washington, was found dead Thursday in his house with several apparent stab wounds, according to the statement from Venezuela's Public Ministry.

He served in the Catholic Church for more than 23 years and worked most recently at the Church of the Sacred Family in Puerto Ordaz, a city in the state of Bolivar, in eastern Venezuela, the statement said.

Authorities have assigned two prosecutors to investigate, it said.

Woods served as a parish priest in two parishes and as a chaplain at a teacher's college in Caracas, the statement said, according to preliminary information.

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Filed under: Venezuela • World
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Marking

    Michelle,
    I am so sorry about your loss!
    Steve has been our friend for over 40 years and it still doesn't
    seem possible.
    We last heard from him via email last week.
    A friend reminded me that this is probably the most difficult kind of loss
    because there's no closure, not memorial to remember him, and when we hear the actual facts of the case, it's too overwhelming to even think about!
    Please know that I hold you, and all of Steve's family in my prayers and in my heart.

    May 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. patrick montgomery

    Steve Wood was also my uncle (the 18th post of Michele ) nothing else needs to be said you said it all.Uncle Steve was a great man Loved and respected by many and will be missed by all who knew him.(the 101 post by michelle) I like your post.To all the rest of the family and friends may we heal together and not forget Steve Wood .....good bye uncle steve I miss you allready your nephew Patrick

    May 5, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Christian Canache

      Patrick, my father was one of the children that Father Stevie (that and Uncle Stevie is what we have called him growing up) succeded in getting off the streets of Caracas. He gave us our future, without him there would be no us. I have precious few memmories of him though, and I would love to know more about him from others. If you would care to get back to me about it my email is canache.christian@gmail.com. I know this thread is old, but I hope you get this anyway. Thanks.

      November 16, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andy Read

    I went to puerto ordaz last summer and met this man, shook his hand, and spoke with him. such a tragedy.

    May 5, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. JD

    Jacques comment about Steve Woods being a child molester might be on the mark. I'll be interested in hearing what his attacker(s) had in common with him if he/they get apprehended.

    May 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joseph

    Yea, anything "might be on the mark". But if we are going to be fully honest, then It could also be 'on the mark' that anyone so quick to throw stones of presumptuous condemnation against someone who is not yet proven guilty, is quite possibly guilty of those very things – psychology 101.

    It's ok to CAREFULLY question (out of respect for the truth and the innocent) what happened in this case, given the state of current issues in the catholic church. But according to statistics less than 2% of priests are involved in such behavior. The statistics favor his innocence. And taken together with the references from those who knew him, I would say it is more than fair not to be so eager in suspecting him of criminal behavior as the reason for his murder. At this point he is the victim. That is the only fact we have. And from what we do know, a victim who gave his life to help others. God Bless Him!

    May 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leonardo Martinez

    I lived in Venezuela for 10 years. Death surrounds us all when we walk the streets of Caracas. If you are looking for an honest answer, good luck! We are dealing with two forms of government where the public has lost both its trust and faith.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Pete Landerman

    As one who knew Steve years ago when he studied linguistics at OU, my heart goes out to his family and friends in this your moment of grief and loss. But my heart goes out much more to others who never knew Steve (I would say, Father Steve, but I'm a protestant), and especially to those who took it upon themselves to speculate in this forum that he might have somehow done something to deserve what happened to him. I feel for you because your loss is really much greater than ours. Through this senseless act of some unnamed criminal you have been forever deprived, in this life, of the opportunity of meeting and the privilege of knowing this truly good man. You don't know what you missed.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dar

    Steve has been part of our family for over 30 years. We had the opportunity to have his Mom and him to say with us for a few days. His last trip to New York we were pleased to have him with us for a very special family event. This crime was so senseless. I pray they catch who did this!!!! Steve loved Venezuela and their peopel we will pray for peace for Venezuela because that is what Steve wanted.

    January 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mr and Mrs. Kan Ishikawa

    Totally out of the blue only yesterday 24 March 2014,4 yours later,we found our dear Friend Fr.Steve Wood's death ,stabbed by someone in Puerto Ordaz. Belated condolence to his family but we want to know
    what really happended there.Please some one let us know.
    (We lived in Caracas since 1977 to 83 when we met him. )

    March 25, 2014 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
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