Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Volunteer Julia Campbell
April 18, 2007Director Tschetter Thanks Filipino People, Government for their Search Efforts
MANILA, April 18, 2007 - U.S. Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter, along with the U.S. Embassy in Manila, is saddened to confirm the death of U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Julia Campbell, who disappeared on April 8 while hiking in Banaue, Ifugao Province, Northern Luzon. Search parties discovered Ms. Campbells body near Barangay Batad, Banaue town this morning. Philippine authorities will make the final pronouncement of cause of death.
Director Tschetter, who is in the Philippines to consult with officials regarding the ongoing search for the missing volunteer, expressed his sorrow at learning the news. Julia was a proud member of the Peace Corps family, and she contributed greatly to the lives of Filipino citizens in Donsol, Sorsogon, where she served, he said. The U.S. Peace Corps is saddened by the loss of such a dedicated and vibrant volunteer, who so loved this country. Our hearts go out to her family and friends in the United States.
Ms. Campbell was reported missing on April 11 after failing to show up for several appointments. She was last seen on Sunday, April 8 in the Banaue area. She reportedly intended to hike in a hilly area near Batad, 1.5 kilometers east of Banaue town, and was unaccompanied.
Director Tschetter traveled to the Banaue area with U.S. Embassy Charg dAffaires Paul W. Jones on Tuesday, April 17 to meet with American and Filipino authorities involved in the search. The U.S. Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy would like to express their deep gratitude to the Filipino people for their assistance in the search.
The search efforts organized by the Philippine National Police (PNP) were incredible, said Charg Jones. Thank you to the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the local and provincial governments in the Banaue area, and the many local guides and volunteers who spent countless hours searching for Julia in difficult terrain. The American people are very thankful for your friendship during this difficult time.
Director Tschetter and Charg Jones met with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this morning to thank her for the partnership and efforts of the Filipino people in searching for Ms. Campbell. President Arroyo along with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo, Secretary of National Defense Hermogenes Ebdane, and PNP Director Oscar Calderon, committed their full support to the investigation.
Ms. Campbell served in ecological and educational projects in Southern Luzon since she began her Peace Corps service in the Philippines in March 2005.
There are 136 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in the country. More than 8,000 Volunteers have served in the Philippines since 1961, making it the second oldest Peace Corps program in the world.
The following statement is being released on behalf of the family of Julia Campbell:
Today, we learned the news that our Julia was found. We are so very grateful to the workers and searchers who worked diligently to look for and find our daughter, sister and friend. In addition to the Peace Corps, we would like to thank the Philippine National Police, the Philippine government and the people of the Philippines, especially those in Baranguay Batad, Banaue for the outpouring of support and assistance in the search.
The U.S. Peace Corps and our U.S. Embassy leadership, personnel and especially the Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines have been of great comfort to our family during this difficult time. Director Ron Tschetter and his team exemplify the sense of community Julia loved about the Peace Corps; they have and continue to show great concern for Julia and our family.
During the past two years they have and continue to show great concern for Julia and our family.
During the past two years Julia has been on assignment in the Philippines, she served in various roles in the village of Donsol (province of Sorsogon) where she worked with the local school there to rebuild and stock the school library. Since childhood, Julia was an avid reader who enjoyed great literary works; Sophies Choice was one of her favorites. Many of her friends and family helped her in a campaign she created to provide age-appropriate reading materials to the library in a project she called "A Book and A Buck". Through her efforts, she collected more than 500 titles. Julia, a passionate yoga instructor and vegetarian, also worked with the local community to launch an ecology awareness campaign and instrumental in building an Eco Center in Donsol. Most recently, she served as a teacher at the Divine Word College in Legaspi city, where she taught English.
In her forty years, Julia lived a very full life. She loved her family and friends and is much loved. She was passionate in her journalism reporting especially the stories involving people who were able to stand and address adversity or adverse situations.
We have every confidence that the U.S. and Philippine authorities are conducting a thorough investigation into Julias untimely death.
Plans are still in development for a memorial service in Fairfax County, Virginia where our family lives.
# # #