- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2007

MANILA — Philippine soldiers found the body of a missing Peace Corps volunteer in a shallow grave yesterday in a mountainous northern town where she disappeared while hiking, an army spokesman said.

The spokesman, Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres, said officials at the site confirmed that the body belonged to Julia Campbell, 40, of Fairfax, saying she was wearing the same clothes as when she was last seen and her glasses were found nearby.

The body of the former freelance journalist was to be flown to Manila today for forensic tests.

Miss Campbell had worked for the New York Times and People magazine and recently reported for CNN on a typhoon that hit the area where she was working for the Peace Corps.

Her aunt, Ann Knight of Pensacola, Fla., said Peace Corps officials had contacted Miss Campbell’s mother with news of the discovery.

Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter, who had gone to the area Tuesday to monitor the search, said his agency was “saddened by the loss of such a dedicated and vibrant volunteer.”

“Julia was a proud member of the Peace Corps family, and she contributed greatly to the lives of Filipino citizens,” Mr. Tschetter said.

Police had speculated earlier that Miss Campbell might have fallen off a cliff. She disappeared April 8 in the village outside Banaue town in Ifugao province north of Manila, where she had planned to view famed mountainside rice terraces.

Ifugao’s provincial police chief, Senior Superintendent Pedro Ganir, told the Associated Press by telephone that a stray dog had dug out one foot by the time soldiers discovered the body, which had been laid in the creek and covered with dirt.

A pair of reading glasses was found near a trail about 160 feet from the body, with one of the lenses nearby. Police also recovered a sandal they think belonged to the woman, he said.

“This is no longer an accident,” he said.

Superintendent Ganir earlier said that Miss Campbell, wearing bluejeans, a black shirt and a shawl, was last seen buying a soda at a store in Batad. She had bought a bus ticket to return to Manila by April 9, indicating that she did not plan to extend her stay or make a long hike, he said.

Miss Campbell was one of 137 Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines.

She had worked in New York City as a freelance journalist before joining the Peace Corps two years ago and was only about two weeks away from finishing her term with the organization.

“It’s horrible,” said Michael Cooper, a New York Times political reporter who worked with Miss Campbell when they covered New York City police for the Times.

“She was a very dogged, very hardworking reporter,” Mr. Cooper said. “She put in long hours. When doing street reporting, she was always sure to ring the 10th doorbell, not just leave after a few.”

Mr. Cooper said Miss Campbell left the Times to cover hard news for People magazine, but he hadn’t talked with her in a couple of years.

Miss Campbell taught English at the Divine Word College in Albay province’s Legazpi city, southeast of Manila, since October. She previously taught at a public school in Donsol in nearby Sorsogon province, said Nora Gallano, assistant dean of Divine Word’s College of Liberal Arts.

The victim’s aunt said Miss Campbell wanted to try something new.

“She just felt not fulfilled in New York and shocked us when she said she was joining the Peace Corps,” Miss Knight said. “She was doing what she wanted to do.”

m Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano contributed to this article.

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