More than 1,200 workers flooded into Montecito, California on Friday, as part of a massive search and cleanup effort into a small town first ravaged by a monster wildfire and now devastated by a mudslide that killed at least 18. (Jan. 12)
Devastating mudslides in California killed 18 people this week as rescue efforts continue in the coastal town of Montecito.
Authorities have confirmed the names of the dead while six people are still missing after the early Tuesday mudslides ravaged this part of Southern California. The hillsides, left without trees or vegetation after summer’s wildfires, unleashed a surge of mud across the valley following days of heavy rain.
In many cases, the mud burst through homes, sweeping victims away. They include a couple who fell in love with their Montecito community, a family of Mexican immigrants and a college student and her dad, a doctor.
Here is the list of those who have died:
This undated photo provided by Gina Conte, shows Rebecca Riskin. Riskin, the founder of Riskin Partners, was among those killed in this week’s deadly Montecito, Calif., mudslides. Her company confirmed her death in a statement posted Wednesday night, Jan. 10, 2018, on Facebook. (Photo: Gina Conte, AP)
Riskin was the founding partner of Riskin Partners, a real estate company that represented buyers and sellers in Montecito, the company’s website said.
The company confirmed her death in a Wednesday Facebook post.
“The confirmation of her loss is incredibly devastating to her friends, family, and our community,” the post read. “Per her wishes, we intend to carry out her life’s work with the same strength, grace and elegance that wholly defined Rebecca.”
The post said she had two children, Julia and Robert, and a husband, Ken Grand.
Jim and Alice Mitchell
This January 2017, photo provided by Kelly Weimer, shows Jim Mitchell, 89, with his wife, Alice Mitchell, 78, and their dog, Gigi. The Mitchell’s and their dog had been missing since Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, when their Montecito, Calif., home was swept away by the torrent of mud, trees and boulders that flowed down a fire-scarred mountain and slammed into the coastal town in Santa Barbara County. On Thursday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the couple died. (Photo: Kelly Weimer, AP)
Age: Jim, 89, and Alice, 78
Jim Mitchell, the oldest person to die in the mudslide, had just celebrated his 89th birthday the day before the Tuesday mudslide.
The couple had raised their two children in Orange County, Calif., before moving to Montecito in 1995. Jim worked in labor relations, and Alice was a schoolteacher.
The couple, their daughter said, had fallen in love with their Montecito home. Their dog, Gigi, is still missing.
Marilyn Ramos, Jonathan Benitez and Kaelly Benitez
This June 2017 photo provided by Jennifer Ramos Tapia shows, Kaelly Benitez 3, outside her family’s home in Montecito, Calif. She and her mother, Marilyn Ramos, were among those killed in the Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 mudslides in the area. (Photo: AP)
Age: Marilyn Ramos, 27; Jonathan Benitez, 10, and Kaelly Benitez, 3
Ramos, a stay-at-home mom, was sleeping in her bed along with her daughter Kaelly Benitez when mud crashed through their rental home. Sleeping nearby was Jonathan Benitez, Kaelly’s cousin and Ramos’ nephew. He also died.
“My sister was such a good person, she only thought of others to the point that she would cry with you when you were hurt or sick,” said Jennifer Ramos, Marilyn Ramos’ sister.
Jonathan Benitez’s mother, Fabiola Benitez, is among those missing.
Marilyn Ramos’ husband, Antonio Benitez, was injured but survived. His brother Victor is Jonathan father and the husband of Fabiola Benitez. Victor’s 2-year-old son survived.
Antonio and Victor are Mexican immigrants who own a Montecito garden and landscaping business.
Mark and Caroline Montgomery
Age: Mark Montgomery, 54, and Caroline Montgomery, 22
The Montgomery family had just returned from a vacation in Brazil two days before the mudslides.
Mark Montgomery’s wife and oldest daughter were out of town on a business trip. On Tuesday morning, Mark, his daughter Caroline and son Duffy all were asleep in their home before mud crashed into the house, sweeping away Mark, a physician, and covering Caroline, a recent college grad.
Mark Montgomery’s son Duffy, 20, was also sleeping in the house. He tried to save Caroline, but she died in his arms.
Cantin was a Boy Scout scoutmaster and was vice president of global sales for a leading developer of medical instruments.
His house was destroyed. His 14-year-old daughter, Lauren Cantin, was buried for hours before rescuers found her. She survived. Jack, her 16-year-old brother, is missing.
Diane Brewer told KTLA 5 in Los Angeles that her friend was someone who lived passionately and was “very gregarious.”
She had two adult children and three grandchildren.
Read more: At least 18 dead as teams dig through mudslide debris in California
The mudslide destroyed the McManigal home, killed McManigal and injured his 23-year-old son, Connor, who was carried a mile by mud.
A Go Fund Me page for the family called McManigal “An amazing man, father of six, and a loving husband.”
Roy Rohter was swept from his Montecito home during a mudslide Tuesday morning and killed. (Photo: PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ACADEMY)
The mudslide swept him from his Montecito home. His wife, Theresa, was rescued and remains in stable condition.
“Roy’s life has been in service to his good, loving and ever-forgiving God,” St. Augustine Academy headmaster Michael Van Hecke said in a statement. “He has done so much for so many people and pro-life and Catholic education causes. … Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters’ friendship and generosity.”
Fleurat and his partner, Ralph “Lalo” Barajas, were at home Tuesday when the floor started shaking.
The mud broke through the walls, taking them both.
“The last thing Peter yelled out to me was, ‘Lalo, grab onto some wood and don’t let go,’ And that was the last I heard of him,” Barajas told CBS News.
Peerawat Sutthithepa and Richard Taylor
Age: Sutthithepa, 6, and Taylor, 79
Sutthithepa and Taylor, his stepfather, the Los Angeles Times reported, were killed when the mudslides came through.
Sutthithepa, who went by the nickname Pasta, enjoyed trains, family friend Kevin Touly told the Times.
The boy’s father and 2-year-old sister are still missing, the newspaper reported.
Bleckel was found in his Montecito home about 11:30 a.m. on Friday, becoming the latest to be named dead by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
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