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By John Brown
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 20, 1998

Searchers find body of Bakker


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Anton Bakker

Friends of Anton Bakker said his mother's intuition yesterday led them to his body two miles downstream from the 80-foot waterfall he tumbled over Sunday while trying to rescue a friend's dog.

A friend spotted Bakker, University of Arizona economics senior, at 11:30 a.m. two miles downstream from Tanque Verde Falls, said Deputy Jim Ogden, Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

Friends, relatives and the Pima County Search and Rescue team have been searching for Bakker since Sunday night.

"He probably dislodged and flushed out sometime during the night," Ogden said. "Two miles is quite a ways from the falls."

No information regarding Bakker's injuries or cause of death was available, and as of yesterday afternoon, it had not been determined whether an autopsy would be performed, Ogden said.

Max Webber, UA senior majoring in English, found Bakker, 22, lying halfway on a sandbar in the water, as friends and relatives checked further down Tanque Verde Creek, said economics and English literature senior Brian Foster, who was a part of the search effort.

"His mom had this weird feeling he was down there and our buddy Max just came across him," said Foster, an Arizona Daily Wildcat photographer.

"He was in pretty good shape," Foster added, indicating Bakker's body had most likely spent the majority of the past 70 hours trapped under water.

During the search, the Search and Rescue team did not venture far downstream. They started about one mile away from the fall and worked their way up, Foster said.

"Quite frankly, Search and Rescue didn't do so much," he said.

Bakker played lacrosse at the UA for three years, last suiting up for the squad in the fall of 1996.

UA men's lacrosse head coach Mickey-Miles Felton said he met Bakker on a recruiting trip to Tucson in 1993 and thought he was a sweet and humble person.

Felton recalled a particular phone conversation he had with Bakker while checking up on his weekend performance during a high school match.

Felton said Bakker was reluctant to tell the coach how he did that weekend.

"I finally got it out him and Anton said, 'Well, I had eight goals,' but he was very quick to say, 'We played a crummy team,'" Felton said.

This exemplified how humble Bakker was about his accomplishments, he added.

Friends and family are expected to leave for Northern California's Napa Valley, Bakker's parents' home, within the next day or two, Foster said.

Since 1970, 30 people have died at the falls in Redington Pass, about 13 miles northeast of the UA campus. A wall of water swept eight hikers to their deaths in 1981.

Bakker apparently was trying to rescue a friend's dog from the storm-swollen creek Sunday afternoon when he was swept over two smaller waterfalls before going over the 80-foot fall. Bakker's friends realized the danger of entering the water and tried unsuccessfully to grab him from the edge, Foster said. Information about memorial services was not available last night.

Wildcat reporter Dan Rosen contributed to this report.

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