Deaths in 2019 - Rachelle Bergeron

BERGERON: Rachelle Bergeron, photographed this undated photo, was shot and killed Oct. 14. Photo courtesy of Yap State Government Public Information Service Facebook page

Local and federal authorities in the Federated States of Micronesia's Yap state are one step closer to solving the deadly shooting of Yap acting Attorney General Rachelle Bergeron.

The local government has confirmed that investigators, who include FBI agents, have completed the initial phase of the investigation and are now in an intermediate phase.

Investigators have identified several persons of interest exactly one week after Bergeron was gunned down outside of her home in Yap. No names have been released. 

"The anxiety level was going up," said Constantine Yowbalaw, the director of youth and civic affairs for Yap. "We want to assure the public that the investigation has progressed."

Yowbalaw told The Guam Daily Post on Tuesday that no suspects were in custody.

On Oct.14, Bergeron, a U.S. citizen, had gone running with her dog when gunfire erupted outside of her home in Yap. She died after being shot multiple times.

The government has reached out to officials in Hawaii to perform an autopsy. 

Yowbalaw confirms that whoever shot Bergeron may have had the firearm illegally.

"Guns are illegal in Yap," he said.

According to the Weapons Prohibition Act in Yap, only law enforcement officers engaged in official duty and members of the U.S. armed forces are exempted from the ban on having a serviceable firearm.

"As they work in a coordinated and orderly manner toward the next phase of concluding the investigation with an arrest and, ultimately, a conviction, we would like to thank the community and citizens of Yap for your contributions to the investigation, cooperation with the authorities and your prayers," the Yap government posted on its website.

Family and friends of Bergeron along with her husband, Simon Haemmerling, planned a memorial service in Yap for Tuesday afternoon to celebrate her life and to honor her service to the island.

"It was something that came together because of the Yap community and the church of Rachelle," Yowbalaw said.

Bergeron and her husband would have celebrated their first anniversary at the end of the month and were preparing to leave Yap and relocate back to the mainland.

The Wisconsin native was hired as an assistant AG in Yap in August 2015 and was promoted to acting AG in January.

"We will remember Rachelle most for her love of life and pursuit of justice. From a very young age she was determined to be a voice for those that did not have a voice," the Bergeron family stated on a website created to remember Rachelle. "We are proud of what she has accomplished in her short 33 years of life. Rachelle gave 100% to everything she did. We are thankful for her passion to serve others selflessly for the betterment for this world and has made a lasting impact on many lives. She was caring and courageous being driven by her faith in Jesus Christ."

Her memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 2 at Brookside Baptist Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. 

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