Two students pass away during winter break


Christopher Benchley (above) and Alexandra Drbohlavova (below)

Two memorial services will be held in honor of Christopher Benchley and Alexandra “Sasha” Drbohlavova, members of the University of Miami community who passed away over winter break.

Benchley, 24, died Dec. 29 after a tragic golf cart accident during his vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica, according to an article in Planet Princeton.

Raised in Princeton, N.J., Benchley had just graduated from UM in December with a bachelor’s in marine affairs from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

His late father, Peter Benchley, was the author of “Jaws,” the novel that was later turned into Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster hit.

“The University of Miami expresses its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Christopher Benchley,” said Patricia Whitely, vice president of student affairs.

Drbohlavova, 22, was allegedly murdered by a British man during her trip to Costa Rica this winter.

“She was a valued part of the campus community, active in our Wesley Center,” Whitely said in a statement.

She was participating in an environmental program at a British-owned organic farm when she was stabbed several times on Dec. 28, according to the Daily Mail.

Drbohlavova was a student from Charles University in Prague and had spent last semester at UM. She had previously lived in the U.S. with her family.

Costa Rican police have arrested a man connected with the death, according to reports from BBC News.

The suspected killer, Alfred Saunders, is a 20-year-old mental health patient under the United Kingdom’s National Health Service with a history of sex offenses.

He was considered enough of a threat that Interpol issued an alert to all Central American countries, according to the Daily Mail.

Despite this warning, he was granted entry into Costa Rica and later turned up at the eco-farm where Drbohlavova was staying.

The owner of the farm, Nic Donati, took pity on Saunders and offered him a tent for the night.

Hours later, Saunders allegedly attacked Drbohlavova in her tent and stabbed her in the chest, neck and face over 15 times.

Drbohlavova’s friend, Tomas Johanovsky, told the Daily Mail that she had been part of a scout troop in Prague since she was 15 years old.

“She was a very good friend and very dedicated to helping people,” Johanovsky said. “She was always open and friendly, and never said anything bad about anyone. She saw the best in people and was one of our most popular leaders.”

January 19, 2012


Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.