Chandler Couple Mourns Death of Missionary Nephew - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/6/02 - Chandler

Chandler Couple Mourns Death of Missionary Nephew

A Kansas man is killed while in captivity in the Philippines...his death comes as Philippines troops attack for his freedom.

East Texas relatives say Martin Burnham was just trying to help others, but that desire ended up costing the American missionary his life after spending a year in captivity.

It's been an emotional day for the Farmer couple in Chandler after learning their missionary nephew was killed during a rescue mission. Martin Burnham and his wife Gracia have been held captive by a militant Muslim group, called Abu Sayyaf, for the past year.

Burnham's wife escaped with a gunshot wound to the leg. Though closure has finally come for Marie and Clarence farmer, it's not the ending they were hoping for.

"I expected them both to come home," said Marie. But now nephew Martin Burnham exists only as a newspaper clipping in her scrap book.

The book documents Martin and his wife Gracia's time as hostages under a militant Muslim group. "My brother called and said that the news was not good," said Marie. "Martin had been killed, but Gracia was able to talk and was alert in the hospital after surgery on her leg."

In just the last year, the couple turned from fresh-faced, hopeful missionaries to thinning prisoners threatened by death everyday.

But today the conclusion to their nightmare final came, missionary Martin Burnham is not coming home. He went to the Philippines seeking higher duty,and his family says he found a higher ground.

The farmers say their nephew's body has not been returned to the U.S yet, but they expect a memorial service will be held for martin in his home town of Wichita, Kansas.

The Burnham's kidnappers have been linked to the Al-Queda network.

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