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Professor Joanne Walker and his partner were killed in a kayak trip in Mexico’s Pacific Ocean

Professor Joanne Walker and his partner were killed in a kayak trip in Mexico’s Pacific Ocean

US professor found dead during family kayaking trip in Mexico

Updated at: 04/09/2013 1:33 PM By:

(AP) SAN DIEGO – One month before he set off to kayak Mexico’s Pacific Ocean, a University of California, San Diego professor and his partner were killed when they fell overboard from their floating home in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit resort.

The bodies were recovered after about 12 hours and a Coast Guard crew in California found the boat in waters less than 40 miles away from the Mexican side of the border in an area of shallow water known to host sharks that can grow up to 5 feet long, according to a statement by Lt. Chris Dunagan, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego.

The bodies, those of William Walker, 64, of San Diego, and his partner, Joanne Walker, 56, were recovered Friday morning, the Coast Guard said. The cause of death remains under investigation, but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said the deaths appear to be drug-related.

Joanne Walker is a beloved professor who taught social work at U.C. San Diego for 17 years. She was passionate about ocean conservation, promoting public outreach and encouraging young people to attend marine science classes.

In a recent interview, professor Walker said she was thrilled about the trip.

“It was just one of those things that we had planned for so many years that had been put on hold for this reason… So I was just really thrilled. It’s a special thing to be on the ocean and be on the water all the time,” Walker said. “And the adventure of being here… It was really unique to be in a kayak just going across miles and miles of water while being totally immersed in the life of the planet below.“

According to a statement from the university, the couple became involved with the university’

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