Frank Drown, the veteran American missionary who made history back in 1956, has passed on to his eternal reward at 95.

Drown discovered the bodies of the American missionaries murdered in the jungles of Ecuador by a headhunting tribe.

Drown found the bodies of Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot Nate Saint along with fellow missionaries Jim Eliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian.

The group had ventured into the eastern rainforests of Ecuador on January 8, 1956 where they made contact with the Waodani people, also known as the Aucas. With a homicide rate of 60 percent, the tribe’s behavior placed them on the verge of self-annihilation.


The missionaries’ story was made famous in the pages of Life Magazine. Drown and his wife Marie told a complete story of the harrowing experience of Dan Wooding, of ASSIST News Service.

Choking back the tears, Drown recalled his friendship with Saint, “We were in Ecuador ten years before they were and then Nate came in and he became our pilot. He flew us all over the jungle, and we did lots of things together. Before he came, we would walk for many hours on the land, and so it was such a blessing to have him as our pilot. One minute in a plane is worth an hour on the ground.”

Marie added, “All of the missionaries that were killed were our good friends.”

Drown passed away on January 22, at the age of 95.


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