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Professor remembers missing UM student

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Jan 19 2013 08:36:21 PM MST
kenney
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A University of Montana professor says class won't be the same without a student who went missing 7 days ago on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.

NBC Montana told you how the mother of 21-year-old Kaitlin Kenney said she believes her daughter drowned in the Colorado River after a massive search effort came up empty.

Kenney was a senior at UM studying American Indian Cultures.

Professor Doug MacDonald taught Kenney in an archeology class last semester. He said she was a good student, a good writer, and was considering a career in archeology and Native American studies.

"I remember Kaitlin always having a grin or a smile on her face, and not taking it all too seriously, and I think that was her personality,” said MacDonald. “She was this effervescent person."

Kenney was on a month long rafting trip with 12 other friends from Missoula - several of them are also UM students.

Kenney’s friends told park rangers they camped on the river bank last Friday night, and when they woke up Saturday morning, she was gone.

Officially, Kenney is still listed as missing, but park officials scaled down the search a few days ago.

Park rangers said, after Kenney’s disappearance, they gave the rest of the rafting party the option to be transported out, but the group decided to finish the trip. They're expected to complete the float in 4 days.