News Release

Tragic Accident Claims Two Missionaries in North Dakota

The following statement was released on Wednesday, June 5, 2024, by Sam Penrod, a spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the tragic deaths of two missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in the North Dakota Bismarck Mission as the result of a traffic accident on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Elder Jacob Aaron Kesler, 20, from Ely, Nevada, and Elder Robert “Tommy” Gardner, 20, from Riverton, Utah, both passed away at the scene of the collision. The missionaries were traveling on a highway outside of Beulah, North Dakota, when their vehicle struck a semitruck, which had stopped in the road due to an accident.

Elder Kesler has been serving since July 2022 and Elder Gardner since November 2022. We send our love and condolences to Elder Kesler’s and Elder Gardner’s families and friends and their fellow missionaries in the North Dakota Bismarck Mission. We pray they will each be comforted and feel peace during this tragic time as they reflect on the faithful service these young men have given to the Savior by sharing His gospel.

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