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UCLA graduate student found dead in mountain

By Daniel Schonhaut

Aug. 9, 2009 9:55 p.m.

After being reported missing on July 17, UCLA graduate student Gabriel Buchmann was believed to be dead.

On Aug. 5, locals from Malawi discovered Buchmann’s body on Mulanje Mountain, where he was hiking, according to the Malawi Digest.

Buchmann, a Fulbright scholar from Brazil, had been traveling through Africa and other parts of the world in preparation to begin his doctoral studies in the economics department at UCLA this fall.

Buchmann was described by family and friends as being a brilliant economist with a kind heart.

“He wanted to make this place a better world, and off he went on this global trip, to get to know the poorest countries, to understand what is out there to inspire his work as economist,” his family and friends wrote on the “Help Gabriel Buchmann” blog Web site.

Funds were raised online to send search and rescue parties to Mulanje to search for Buchmann. In blog entries, Buchmann’s family and friends remained optimistic that he would be found alive.

But a blog entry on Aug. 5, written in Portuguese, took a more somber tone.

“It is with great pain that we give the news that Gabriel, our friend, child, grandchild, parent, brother of blood and life left us,” the blog entry, written in Portuguese, read. “After 28 years giving joy and showing the way to us and so many others, Gabriel went to the spiritual world.”

Since Buchmann’s body was discovered, UCLA administrators have extended their sympathies to his family.

“It is with great sadness that I announce that our entering class this year will be smaller by one,” economics professor Roger Farmer said in a statement.

Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, the vice chancellor for graduate studies, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I was saddened to learn of the apparent death of Gabriel Buchmann. My heart goes out to the family during this difficult time,” said Mitchell-Kernan in a statement.

Mitchell-Kernan said Chancellor Gene Block intended to express his condolences to directly to Buchmann’s family.

Mulanje police could not be reached for comment, and an official report on cause of death has yet to be released.

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Daniel Schonhaut
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