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Woman in Marfa Struck and Killed by Train Thursday Morning

Melaney Parker Rayburn, photo by Amina Munster.

Melaney Parker Rayburn, age 27, was struck and killed by a train early Thursday morning (August 8), near Russell Street in Marfa. She was living and working in Marfa. She has family throughout West Texas, and earlier this summer she married John Rayburn in Alpine at Kokernot Lodge.

Tom Michael of KRTS spoke with Robert Halpern of the Big Bend Sentinel, who reported on the incident, and with Raquel Espinoza, a spokesperson for the Union Pacific Railroad. The company said the engineer, operating an eastbound freight train, sounded the train horn. The railroad has opened an investigation, and so has local law enforcement. Audio from this report is attached above.

Melaney graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, in 2008, with a degree in sociology. According to family members, she was most proud of her service in the U.S. Peace Corps, from 2008 to 2010, because she was able to serve her country.

When she returned to the area in 2011, she worked as a tutor for Karen Bernstein's son, Mateo. Bernstein said, "With a sociology degree from the University of Chicago she was obviously way over-qualified to be a tutor for Mateo, but there was never a hint of displeasure or frustration."

Most recently, she was employed at the Marfa Community Health Clinic.

Former KRTS/KXWT News Director