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3 remain missing in deadly California mudslides

Searchers in California sifted through mud-caked debris Monday for four people missing in mudslides that have ...

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 6:52 AM
Updated: Jan 16, 2018 6:52 AM

Searchers in California sifted through mud-caked debris Monday for four people missing in mudslides that have killed at least 20 people and walloped Montecito, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said.

Hampered by blocked roads, downed trees and power lines, deputies searched for John "Jack" Cantin, 17; Faviola Benitez Calderon, 28; and John "Jack" Keating, 53.

At least 20 people have died in the mudslides

DA to citizenry: Avoid affected areas

Lydia Sutthithepa, 2, is also among the missing. Her father, Pinit Sutthithepa, 30, was found dead on Saturday.

The mudslides came in the early morning hours of last Tuesday, destroying an estimated 65 homes and damaging hundreds of others, the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection said.

The rain poured down on hillsides charred by recent wildfires, which burned vegetation that otherwise could make the terrain more resistant to mudslides.

The Thomas Fire -- the largest wildfire in California's recorded history -- burned more than 281,000 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties from early December into this month. It wasn't fully contained until Friday.

For days, rescuers searched frantically for the missing after mud and boulders barreled into neighborhoods in and near Montecito, an affluent seaside community east of Santa Barbara. The mudslides demolished homes and left roads impassable.

Now, what had been a search-and-rescue operation authorities is a search-and-recovery undertaking. The crews probably won't be hampered by bad weather most of this week. The first chance of rain will come Thursday night to Friday and it is estimated to amount generally to less than a third of an inch, CNN meteorologists said.

How to help the victims of the California mudslides

The cleanup effort is arduous. Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley said in a statement Sunday those who "encumber the continuing rescue efforts by unnecessarily entering the affected areas" could face fines and even jail.

She noted that the area is west of Sheffield Drive/East Valley Road/Ladera Lane, east of Olive Mill/Hot Springs Road, north of the ocean, and south of the U.S. Forest Service boundary.

"Those areas are not only active search areas, but also remain dangerous. Therefore, unauthorized persons who enter those areas will not only interfere with critical and time-urgent search and rescue efforts, but may also become victims themselves."

A portion of US 101 -- a major freeway connecting Northern and Southern California -- will remain closed for at least another week through Montecito because of ongoing clean-up and repairs, and rain in the weekend forecast, according to the California Department of Transportation.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 5299
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Washington42725408
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Clackamas33323391
Lane30531364
Jackson25267363
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Umatilla15178184
Linn15004184
Douglas13635295
Josephine10388249
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Klamath9144153
Polk8384103
Benton624440
Malheur594093
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Lincoln369155
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Union341857
Wasco320747
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Morrow198925
Curry194639
Harney121933
Grant109216
Lake106418
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 5128725

Reported Deaths: 74953
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Los Angeles153845127262
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3370455783
Sacramento1699162462
Kern1590231841
Fresno1581872284
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San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus923321436
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511315
Shasta26353465
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793980
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163818
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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