Wednesday, March 3, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Portland Couple Killed In Uganda -- Adventurous Intel Executives Slaughtered After Forced March

The AP

PORTLAND - A pair of Intel executives who first traveled to Africa together on their honeymoon returned to the rain forest in search of adventure and gorillas, only to be killed in a rebel kidnapping.

Rob Haubner, 48, and Susan Miller, 42, were the only Americans slain when Rwandan rebels stormed their camp early Monday in southwestern Uganda. The rebels rounded up several foreign and Ugandan tourists, led them on a forced march through the jungle and hacked the victims to death with machetes.

Eight foreign tourists were killed and six others survived.

Haubner and Miller were employed by the computer-chip giant since the mid-'80s and were based in suburban Hillsboro, Ore. He was worldwide director of customer support; she was a senior trade-show manager.

Haubner, who once helped persuade Intel Chairman Andy Grove to fix the infamous "floating point" bug in an early chip, was considering retirement, said Eric Pozzo, a friend and former co-worker.

"His thought was, `Anything beyond the age of 36, you really need to enjoy your life.' "

Haubner and Miller were on a two-week vacation, their third trip to Africa in as many years, hiking the mountainous rain forest made famous in the film "Gorillas in the Mist." Their goal was to catch a glimpse of the rare mountain gorillas that remain along the mountain's impenetrable slopes.

"They loved to travel around the world," said Intel spokesman William Calder. "We are shocked and stunned. Rob and Susan were

known to literally thousands of employees all over the world. They had long and very distinguished careers at Intel."

At the victims' modern, white home nestled on a wooded hillside overlooking Portland, sport-utility vehicles jammed the driveway and dozens of friends and relatives milled around inside. Haubner had a grown son who also lived in Portland.

The family issued a statement saying: "We are shocked by this news and we are trying to cope with this devastating situation as best we can."

Nicky Laman, who lives next door, described the couple as healthy, active, handsome people who led a jet-set life of exotic vacations and overseas business trips.

"They were a remarkable couple," Laman said. "It's a tragedy. I can't believe it happened.

"It breaks my heart having to think about what those people went through in the last hours of their lives," she said. "It's just not right. It brings the violence pretty close to home."

Calder said Haubner and Miller were traveling with another married couple of Intel employees.

Susan Studd, 46, and Bob McLaurin, 44, of Portland were able to escape by ducking out the back of their tent and hiding in the bushes after awakening to the sounds of gunfire and screams.

Studd is manager of the business-practices network in the human-resources department. McLaurin is assistant director of mobile-modules operations, part of the mobile and hand-held products group.

Susan Studd's mother, Rita Studd of Lake Oswego, said she talked with her daughter by telephone yesterday.

"Susan is a very strong person," Rita Studd said. "She sounded like someone who was living moment by moment, just trying to survive."

Information from Reuters is included in this report.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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