A young couple vacationing in Puerto Rico to celebrate their anniversary and their recent graduation from Georgetown University were tragically killed in a flash flood earlier this month.
Maya Robinson her boyfriend of four years, Mark Keffer, both aged 22, drowned in the Espiritu Santo River at the El Yunque National Rainforest on October 11.
Robinson and Keffer lost their lives just hours into their weekend trip to the island. The pair had just arrived at their Airbnb apartment in San Juan, and at 8am on October 11 they headed off on the sightseeing tour that they had booked.
Star-crossed lovers: Georgetown graduates Mark Keffer and Maya Robinson, both 22, were killed in a flash flood during a weekend trip to Puerto Rico on October 11
The couple drowned in the Espiritu Santo River at the El Yunque National Rainforest (pictured two weeks after Hurricane Maria)
The local newspaper El Nuevo Dia reported the later that afternoon, the American tourists found themselves stranded by the floodwaters and could not escape. Their guide, Pradip Álvarez Astacio, managed to survive and reported them missing.
Following a search, the bodies of Robinson and Keffer were recovered from the river.
Robinson’s devastated mother, Duana Hamilton, told CBS Boston she grew concerned for Maya and her boyfriend when she tried to reach them and found that both their phones were off.
In an interview with MassLive, Hamilton said she flew out to Puerto Rico on October 14 to positively identify the body of her daughter, and also that of Keffer at the request of his parents, who were flying in from the UK.
Robinson was an only child in her family. Her mother said she does not know what to do now that her daughter, who has been her best friend for the last 22 years, is gone.
‘It hurts that someone so good is gone,’ Hamilton said. ‘I just don’t understand it.’
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help Hamilton with her daughter’s final expenses.
Robinson and Keffer met and fell in love during their freshman year at Georgetown, where she majored in math and computer science, and he in psychology and art. They were also members of the university a capella group, The Capitol G’s.
Robinson, a native of Concord, Massachusetts, graduated in 2015 from the highly prestigious Philip Exeter Academy. Keffer was a native of Houston who grew up in the UK
Inseparable: The pair met in an elevator during freshman orientation in 2015 and were inseparable during the next four years
Everyone who knew the college sweethearts described them as being inseparable from the moment they bumped into one another in an elevator during freshman orientation week.
‘They did almost everything together from that point on,’ Keffer’s obituary reads. ‘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. They had a lot of fun together—they liked to watch horror movies, seek out quirky ice cream flavors and hang out. Mark could often be seen in a Hawaiian shirt, probably given to him by Maya. They were ambitious, always talking about what their futures might look like. They were considering graduate school and possibly founding a startup.’
According to Keffer’s art professor BG Muhn, the Houston native who grew up in London was an exceptionally talented artist who had an innovative vision.
‘I can sincerely say that he was one of the most brilliant, gifted students I have worked with during my past thirty some years teaching at Georgetown,’ Muhn wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Robinson, a native of Concord, Massachusetts, graduated in 2015 from the highly prestigious Philip Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, which is one of the oldest and most storied secondary schools in the US that counts among its alumni US senators, children of several American presidents, scientists, playwrights and actors of note.
Robinson and Keffer graduated with bachelor’s degrees in May of this year, after which they moved to New York City to start their new jobs
Robinson’s computer science professor Jami Montgomery described her to The Hoya as ‘smart, stubborn and full of tenacity,’ adding, ‘I was truly grateful to know her and am sorry that others will never get to know Maya’s kindness and rich spirit.’
Robinson and Keffer graduated with bachelor’s degrees in their respective fields in May of this year, after which they moved to New York City to start their new jobs.
At the time of their deaths, Robinson was employed as a portfolio analyst with the global investment firm BlackRock, while Keffer worked as an analyst at Ion Group.
The boyfriend planned to continue pursuing his artistic ambitions and possibly enrolling in graduate school to further study psychology.
Keffer’s Instagram page, which had not been updated since December 2018, displays some of his impressive artworks.
His final post features an oil painting on canvas depicting a massive wave crashing against a dock.