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Four suspects have been arrested for Pierre’s murder and the shooting of his sister, Marie, The Tennessean reports this morning. Police are still pursuing a possible fifth suspect. The full story is here and on News Channel 5 here.


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  1. Those whom the gods love die young
    In memory of Pierre Robert Colas (1976-2008)

    On the evening of August 26 our very dear friend and colleague, Pierre, an assistant professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University, was torn from us, murdered in cold blood at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, during a vicious robbery-motivated shooting that also left his sister, Marie, visiting from Switzerland, in critical condition fighting for her life. Far beyond the material aspects of the robbery – the four “smiling and laughing” suspects were caught on video within hours on a shopping spree for luxury items at Pierre’s expense – this senseless crime has robbed not only us at Mexicon, but also the Mesoamericanist community and friends around the world, of one of the sweetest and brightest scholars and companions imaginable.

    One of the most prolific of young academics, Pierre, also known as Robbie to American friends, had chalked up an extraordinarily impressive series of accomplishments in his all too short life, not the least of which were three books, one of them published while still a student, and no less than 23 articles. Among other things his innovative and well-received work on Maya naming was the first major study of its kind. Whether exploring caves in Mesoamerica or Maya hieroglyphics, whether teaching in his inimitably dynamic fashion to his ever-growing numbers of students, or simply sharing precious and light-hearted hours with friends and family, our beloved Pierre made an impact that will endure. Our hearts go out to his family in this dark hour.

    We miss him dearly.

    In grief,
    Gordon Whittaker
    General Editor, on behalf of all at Mexicon (

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