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PIA Press Release

US Peace Corps head suspects no foul play on Campbell's death

by Miriam P. Aquino

San Fernando City, La Union (19 April) -- United States Peace Corps Head Ronald Tschetter, accompanied by US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Paul Jones and US Peace Corps Country Director Karl Beck, expressed his "deep appreciation" to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Filipino people, the military and the PNP as well as the governor of Ifugao for being so supportive in the search and rescue operation for US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell, one of the 137 Peace Corps volunteers in the Philip[pines.

Earlier reports said that a few days back, Campbell decided to take a walk all by herself to the Ifugao jungles and last seen along the hilly area of Batad, 1.5 kilometers east of Banaue but never returned till then.

Yesterday morning, reports came out that a dead body of a woman, half buried and was said to be at its advance stage of decomposition was found on a hilly area of Banaue in Ifugao.

Tschetter, who personally drove to Banaue to monitor the massive search for Campbell, himself was amused with the site though he found it a bit treacherous with its narrow trails, with steep gorges covered with heavy flora, as he describe it, reports said.

A word from Tschetter proves that no indication that Campbell might be abducted by communists rebels or criminal elements, which was also ruled out by PNP Chief Director General Oscar Calderon saying that the area has been cleared of insurgents. This erased speculations from the public that the volunteer might have been abducted before she was killed.

Believing it was just an accident, Tschetter expressed his sympathy for the US Peace Corps volunteers whom he described as a close-knit group who have grown emotionally attached to each other, letting them feel that they have not been left out, that the US government continuously support them and are being sensitive to their emotions and needs.

Tschetter said that President Arroyo even asked him to tell the American People how sorry she was for what happened.

On the other hand, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita in a statement said, "We are saddened by her death but, hopefully, it was not by any other cause but purely accident." (PIA La Union) [top]

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