JW Translator Found Dead in Watchtower Facility in Florida

Man found dead at Jehovah’s Witness facility in Palm Coast
By Tony Holt – tony.holt@news-jrnl.com

Published: Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 4:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8:46 p.m.

PALM COAST — A 41-year-old man was found dead inside a dorm room at the Jehovah’s Witness training center in Palm Coast and autopsy results won’t be released until a toxicology report is completed, according to the Office of the Medical Examiner.

Toxicology tests take about 90 days, said Koni Rogers, director of operations at the District 23 office in St. Augustine.

Emergency responders confirmed the deceased was Seante Richardson, 41, of Mobile, Alabama. He had been staying at the training center at 4500 Palm Coast Parkway SE for two weeks and was working on a project to translate the Bible into sign language, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

The Palm Coast Facility of Jehovah’s Witnesses released a statement late Thursday:

“We are saddened by the sudden death of Seante Richardson, one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses from Mobile, Alabama, this past weekend. Seante was at the (facility) temporarily assisting in the production of recordings in American Sign Language. All of us who knew Seante feel a deep loss. We are focusing on providing spiritual encouragement and comfort for his family and friends.”

Deputies were called to the facility shortly after 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Richardson’s wife and co-workers hadn’t heard from him since the previous Friday and contacted administrators at the training center, authorities said.

Jehovah's Witness Training Facility in Palm Coast, Florida

Jehovah’s Witness Training Facility in Palm Coast, Florida

Someone on the property with a master key entered the room, found Richardson and paramedics were called, according to Sheriff’s Office reports.

Richardson’s wife was contacted by the Sheriff’s Office and notified of her husband’s death. She told deputies Richardson had no medical history and was not on any medications, detectives said.

No identification was found on Richardson or in his room and there were no signs of injury or suspicious activity, according to reports.

Rogers said a toxicology report is routine and preliminary autopsies, normally completed within 24 hours, are not done at her office.

Deputy Paula Priester, a sheriff’s spokeswoman, said her agency had no additional information about the case beyond what was included in the report.

A written statement from the Jehovah’s Witnesses stated the religious organization is “cooperating fully” with the Sheriff’s Office investigation.

Editor’s Notes:

The editorial staff of Jehovah’s Witness Report wish to express our condolences to the family and friends of Seante Richardson. We are sure that he sincerely felt that he “was doing Jehovah’s righteous work” during his assignment at the Watchtower facility in Florida. We always grieve when young people die too soon, well before they’ve really had a chance to live their lives to the fullest. 

For several decades the Watchtower Society has actively promoted “signing” using ASL (American Sign Language). You will often see “signers” on the stage of Kingdom Halls busily translating public talks, Watchtower Studies, and special meetings – even when there are no clinically deaf or severely hard-of-hearing persons in the congregation. All conventions and local assemblies – and even during corporate meetings – will have signers on video screens or placed in a prominent location on stage. The Watchtower encourages young JWs to learn the process and language as another way to keep their interest and give them something that will make them feel needed within congregations. One question continues to come up: “Do deaf JWs close their eyes during the prayers? If so, how do they know what the words of the prayers actually are? If not, are they offending Jehovah?”

In recent years, the Watchtower’s use of video for some signing programs has backfired on them – the most embarrassing being at least two versions describing “the sin of masturbation.” Several versions of these videos can be found on YouTube.com. You can find them for yourself.

The Watchtower is also using ASL extensively in videos specially directed to children as in the following short examples:

More Information:

Link to original article: http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20150305/NEWS/150309702/1040?Title=Man-found-dead-at-Jehovah-x2019-s-Witness-facility-in-Palm-Coast

Link to article describing the facility: http://gotoby.com/news/article/2245/Watchtower-Buys-Former-FAA-Training-Facility-in-Palm-Coast-for-$7025000

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