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Elephant tramples LI woman, her baby, in Kenya

Sharon Brown and her baby, Margaux, were trampled

Sharon Brown and her baby, Margaux, were trampled to death by an elephant in Kenya on Monday, Jan. 4, 2010. Brown owns a home in Miller Place. Credit: Handout

A former Miller Place woman and her 1-year-old daughter were killed by a wild elephant who charged at them as they hiked in Kenya, her father confirmed yesterday.

Sharon Brown, 39, was holding her daughter, Margaux, in her arms while walking with three other adults, and accompanied by an unarmed guide, just outside Mount Kenya National Park on Monday when the elephant ran out of the brush, Kenya Wildlife Service official Michael Kipkeu said.

Brown, a teacher and librarian at a school in Kenya, was on a nature trail about a mile from the Castle Forest Lodge, where she was vacationing, lodge owner Melia van Laar said.

"The elephant emerged from the bush at full speed without any warning," van Laar said. "Everybody ran away, but the lady, burdened by the weight of the baby, perhaps, or in panic, was not able to run fast enough."

Brown's father, John Laurie, who returned to Miller Place from a visit to North Carolina, described her as an avid traveler.

She attended Miller Place High School and, after graduation from Binghamton University, traveled widely.

Brown and her husband, Jeff, are listed as faculty members at the International School of Kenya.

Friends and colleagues at the American-curriculum K-12 school held a memorial service Wednesday. A school official declined to comment.

A wake for Brown and her daughter was being planned, said funeral director Paul Montelione of the O.B. Davis Funeral Home in Miller Place. Brown's father said his daughter and granddaughter will be buried together near his wife, Arlene, at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.

"As of now, we're still working on getting her out of Kenya. It's going to take a couple of days," Montelione said. Arrangements are being made through the American consulate in Kenya, he added.

Because the Castle Forest Lodge lies just outside the boundary of Mount Kenya National Park, the family was walking with a hotel guide, who is not permitted to carry a gun, said Kentice Tikolo, a spokeswoman for the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The national park is about 180 miles north of the capital, Nairobi.

Tikolo said deaths by charging elephants in Kenya happen about once a year.

Hikers in Kenya's national parks are advised to have an armed guard with them if the park is known to have elephants. "It was a lone elephant and lone elephants can be quite dangerous," Tikolo said. "It probably felt quite threatened." With AP

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