Santa Monica Teacher Drowns At Panama Beach

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - A Culver City family is mourning the loss of their son who was swept off a beach in Panama and probably

Joey Lutz's family says he was standing in shallow water at a beach Thursday when a wave swept him away and a rip tide carried him out to sea.

Lutz was an English teacher at Santa Monica High School.

The 33-year-old's mother, Freda Lutz, says witnesses saw Lutz struggling, but his friends could not help him and Panamanian police did not look for him.

Friends who were travelling with Lutz on Panama's northeastern Bocas del Toro islands emailed to tell his family the sad news.

Lutz's father and brother are in Panama City to try to recover the body, but heavy rains have made the search difficult.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-07-19-08 2035EDT

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