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Concord native dies in flash flood in Puerto Rico

Maya Robinson
Maya RobinsonPhoto courtesy of Duana Hamilton

A Concord native on a weekend getaway with her boyfriend in Puerto Rico was killed when a guided rainforest tour went horribly wrong earlier this month, her mother said Thursday.

Maya Robinson and her boyfriend, Mark Keffer, were both killed in a flash flood on Oct. 11, according to Robinson’s mother, Duana Hamilton.

Both were 22, and recently graduated from Georgetown University, she said.

“They were caught in a flash flood almost as soon as they got there, it appears,” said Hamilton in a phone interview Thursday.

According to an obituary for Keffer, the flood occurred at the Espíritu Santo river in the El Yunque National Forest.


Hamilton, who still lives in Concord, where Robinson grew up, said she “just collapsed” when she heard the news.

“I feel that we lost an angel,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton described the couple as goal-oriented and hard-working.

“They were both very, very nice, kind people,” she said.

Keffer and Robinson had met at freshman orientation at Georgetown University and had dated for four years, Hamilton said. They were in Puerto Rico for their “dating anniversary,” said Hamilton.

“They went on a quick weekend trip to celebrate being together for four years,” she said.

According to Keffer’s obituary, he became enthralled with Robinson “from the moment they met.”

“They did almost everything together from that point on,” read the obituary. “They were on the rowing team together, they sang together in the Capitol Gs, they ate most of their meals together, and they studied together.”

Robinson graduated from Georgetown earlier this year and had been working as a corporate portfolio analyst in New York for three months, her mother said.

“I was looking forward to seeing what she was going to do,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton said her daughter was interested in becoming a mentor and wanted to launch a charity to help high school students with the college admissions process. Specifically, she wanted to help fund applications so students would not be limited in their choices for college.


“She wanted to give back and she didn’t get a chance to do that,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton said there will be a memorial service for Robinson in Detroit, Mich., on Sunday, and another memorial at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire on Nov. 9. Robinson graduated from the elite school in 2015. Robinson was an only child. In addition to her mother, she leaves her father, Duane Robinson.

Family friend Anne Stevenson called Robinson’s death “a horrible loss.”

“You will never find anyone who has anything bad to say about Maya because she was such a great kid,” said Stevenson, a Marblehead resident who knows Robinson’s mother from their time as undergraduates at Tufts University.

Robinson, said Stevenson, had the ability to “relate to a lot of different people on a lot of different levels.”

Stevenson last saw Robinson last month. Robinson visited her at her office, and they shared some gummy bears, Robinson’s favorite candy, said Stevenson. Robinson, whom she described as having a robust work ethic, was teased about when she was going to take time off and go on vacation, according to Stevenson.

“She was on her way to do great things and I feel terrible that her life was stolen from her like this,” said Stevenson in an e-mail. “We want to know why and how this could happen.”


Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.