MONTECITO, Jan 12 — The founder of a Roman Catholic school and four children were among the victims of a deadly series of mudslides in Santa Barbara County, California, that killed 17 people along the coast, officials said yesterday.
The mudslides also injured nearly 30 people and destroyed about 100 homes in the Montecito area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest.
Rescue workers were searching yesterday for more missing people.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office yesterday identified the 17 killed, citing the cause of death as multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides due to the recent wildfire.
* David Cantin, 49, was the father of 14-year-old Lauren Cantin, whom rescuers pulled from her Montecito home earlier this week, the Associated Press reported.
* Josephine Gower, 69, died when she was swept away in the mudslides, her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Her body was found that night, near a highway hit by the slide.
“I told her to stay on the second floor but she went downstairs and opened the door and just got swept away,” her son, Hayden Gower, told NBC affiliate KSBY.
“I should have just told her to leave. You just don’t even think that this is possible.”
* James and Alice Mitchell, 89 and 78 respectively, who moved to the Montecito area in 1999, were found dead on a different street from their destroyed home, KSBY reported yesterday, citing the couple’s daughter, Kelly Weimer.
* Roy Rohter, 84, founder of the Saint Augustine Academy, a private Catholic school in Ventura, was killed on Tuesday when a mudslide swept him from his Montecito home, according to school officials.
* Rebecca Riskin, a 61-year-old retired professional ballerina, founder of Riskin Partners real estate firm and nearly 30-year Montecito resident and businesswoman, died in Montecito as a result of the flooding and mudslides in the area, the firm confirmed in a Facebook post and statement.
Others identified by the sheriff’s office included:
Jonathan Benitez, 10
Kailly Benitez, 3
Martin Cabrera-Munoz, 48
Sawyer Corey, 12
John McManigal, 61
Mark Montgomery, 54
Caroline Montgomery, 22
Marilyn Ramos, 27
Peerawat Sutthithepn, 6
Richard Taylor, 67
Peter Fleurat, 73. — Reuters