'Window closing' to find survivors in U.S. mudslide

U.S. Highway 101 at the Olive Mill Road overpass is flooded with runoff water from Montecito Creek in Montecito

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Sheriff Bill Brown gave the larger number Thursday but cautioned that many or most of those people may simply have been unreachable to the family and friends who reported they couldn't find them.

But the sheriff's office had to walk back that conclusion a few hours later when they learned it was a different John Keating found at the hospital, and the one they were seeking was still missing. At least 5 people, including a 2-year-old, remain missing.

Karson, reporting for NPR from Pasadena, Calif., said the mudflows above Montecito were so powerful they ripped some homes off their foundations.

Sutthithepa, who went by the nickname Pasta, enjoyed trains, family friend Kevin Touly told the Times. Officials say there could be changes in the assessments that report 65 single-family homes and eight businesses destroyed and 462 homes and 20 businesses damaged.

"Seemed like just heavy rain", he said.

As searchers were completing their initial assessment of all residences Friday they found 87-year-old Joseph Francis Bleckel dead inside his home, bringing the total killed by the mudslides to 18, ranging in age from 3 to 89.

A statement said: "The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is asking for the community's help in locating several missing persons related to the January 9, 2018 storm incident".

"We know that this is a terribly inconvenient development, but it is also incredibly necessary", Brown said.

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The youngest victim, Kailley Benitez, three, died alongside her mother and 10-year-old cousin.

"We have a yard to redo and hopefully our insurance will help out with that, but the people across from me, newer homes, gone", he said. Rohter's wife was rescued, but he did not survive, Van Hecke told ABC News. His brother Victor is Jonathan father and the husband of Fabiola Benitez.

Tuesday's mudslides in Santa Barbara County were the result of wildfires followed by a heavy storm that sent rivers of debris streaming down steep hillsides. He shared the home with his partner, who owned a cafe in Santa Barbara. The couple had to previously evacuate during the California wildfires.

The U.S. Forest Service made the announcement Friday after aerial surveys of the 440-square-mile (1, 140-square-kilometre ) scar left by the so-called Thomas fire. "There's been plenty of cases where they've found people a week after", Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said.

All of the dead were killed by "multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides", authorities said. First came the fires, and the Thomas Fire last month in this area west of Los Angeles was the biggest ever recorded in the state.

"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 Ramos' sister, Jennifer Ramos.

Two of the victims were killed when their houses were swept away in the mudslides.

During his search on Wednesday, Hayden met the relatives of another victim who were also looking for her before learning of her tragic fate.

Montecito is home to many Hollywood stars, and they were feeling the pain.

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