A Peace Corps volunteer from Virginia was killed in the Philippines late Wednesday during a roadside robbery that also left nine Filipinos dead.
A group of robbers stopped a van carrying Robert J. Bock, 32, of Chincoteague, and the others down a road on the island of Panay, Peace Corps spokesman Brendan Daly said. The robbers shot the passengers and stole their belongings.
Police in the Philippines have told the Peace Corps that they arrested one suspect in the case and that he has implicated his partners. "We anticipate they will be vigorous" in solving the case, Daly said.
Yesterday, friends and family remembered Bock as an intelligent, soft-spoken man who enjoyed traveling, working in biology and helping other people. Those three interests led him to join the Peace Corps in April 1997 as a coastal resource volunteer, after two years on the waiting list. He thought the people of the Philippines could benefit from his aquaculture skills, said an older brother, Frederick Bock.
Robert Bock graduated from Old Dominion University with a biology degree in 1991. He worked for a shellfish farm in Chincoteague and studied the effects of agricultural runoff on water quality for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science before joining the Peace Corps.
Pete Costanzo, manager of Chincoteague Shellfish Farms, said Bock went beyond the call of duty each day he worked and never complained. "He was a gentleman and an extremely hard worker," Costanzo said.
Bock also did aquaculture work in Alaska, Maine and other parts of the country, his brother said, and he traveled to Tazmania to take part in an animal study with an Old Dominion University biology professor.
He planned to go back to graduate school when he returned from the Peace Corps, Frederick Bock said.
Since 1961, 234 of 151,572 Peace Corps volunteers have died on duty. Peace Corps officials said the most common cause has been road accidents; there have been 17 homicides.
Earlier this year, Kevin Laveille, 26, a volunteer in the Ivory Coast, was slain during a robbery at his house. In 1996, Nancy Coutu, 29, was slain in Madagascar. Robert Bock was born in Upstate New York, the third son of William and Virginia Bock, who moved to Chincoteague when Robert was 10. Melissa Bock, who is married to Robert's brother William, described her brother-in-law as a kind person who drove elderly women from Chincoteague to their doctor's appointments in Norfolk. "He was a quiet, introverted, introspective type of person," she said. "He also had a side that had a lot of humanity to him."