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FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 1999202/307-0703


Funds Also Provided to Assist Students At Victims' School

WASHINGTON, DC - As the investigation continues into the disappearance of three women in Yosemite National Park, the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), part of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), has announced that it will provide funds to assist the family of one of the victims. Authorities have recovered three bodies, but only one, that of 42-year-old Carole Sund, has been identified.

The OVC funds will aid the parents of 15-year-old exchange student, Silvina Peloso, one of the three women who disappeared last month. Racquel and Jose Peloso of Cordoba, Argentina are currently staying in Modesto, California. The couple's expenses are being provided by OVC's Emergency Victim Fund through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

OVC funds can be used to cover federal crime victims with exceptional needs or to enhance the ability of state or local programs to meet the needs of crime victims. Assistance for the Sund family is available through the state of California, which receives funds directly from OVC for victim compensation and assistance services.

OVC has also announced that it is funding a crisis response team from other parts of California to assist students at Eureka High School. Two of the victims, Silvina Peloso and Juli Sund were both students at the school.

OVC established its Community Crisis Response program to help communities respond to victims in multiple casualty crimes. The program funds individuals or teams of trained responders to assist victims through debriefings and training in the aftermath of criminal incidents of significant impact upon communities.

This OVC program has funded crisis response teams to such varied tragedies as the Chicago Housing Authority's Robert Taylor Homes following a weekend in which 13 people were murdered; the community of Dryden, New York after the brutal murder of two local high school girls; and to Oklahoma City, where crisis response teams funded by OVC were mustered and on the scene the same day as the blast.

Ninety percent of OVC's Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds go to the states to supplement their crime victims compensation programs and to fund local victim assistance services. OVC recently authorized the use of emergency funds following the FBI's request to pay the cost of transporting the bodies of two Americans killed in Uganda by terrorists back to the United States. The Oregon Crime Victims Compensation Program is assisting the families with burial expenses, but could not cover the transport costs from Africa.

For more information about OVC, or the Community Crisis Response program visit the Office for Victims of Crime Website at or the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Website at Or, call the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center at 800-627-6872. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202-307-0703.