Nation & World News

Washington Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 30

By Scott Neuman on April 3rd, 2014

The official death toll from last month’s landslide in Washington state has risen to 30, according to local officials, with more than a dozen still listed as missing.

The Snohomish County medical examiner’s office released the names of two more victims: 67-year-old Gloria Halstead and 13-year-old Jovon E. Mangual, both of Arlington. Of the 30 confirmed victims, three have yet to be identified.

However, nearly two weeks after the tragedy that devastated the community of Oso, the number of missing remains a matter of confusion for local authorities and media outlets. As of Thursday, that figure has been variously reported as 13, 15 and 17.

Adding to the confusion, The Associated Press reports Thursday that “one set of remains does not fit with the description on the missing persons list.”

The AP says:

“The medical examiners know it is a male. But his remains give no clue as to who he was, or who might be looking for him. They can’t even identify his age range. Without possible family members to compare, DNA tests are useless. At this point, gold teeth are all they have to go on.”

Member station KUOW’s Ruby Luna reports that, in general, identifying remains from the March 22 mudslide has been “agonizingly slow.”

“We’ve been contacting the family members by phone, gathering as much information as we can on the missing, so when we have a decedent come in we’re ahead of the game with all the information,” Dennis Peterson, deputy director of the county’s medical examiner’s office in Everett said at a news conference. “They’ve been asking families for dental records, medical records, X-rays and for information about tattoos, or other identifying marks.”

KUOW reports:

“The deceased first pass through a makeshift tent — an extension of the receiving area — set up to provide privacy and a place to wash them. Because of the nature of the disaster, they need to be cleansed of mud, fuel, debris and other contaminants.

“From there, they’re moved to the autopsy room where medical examiners fingerprint them, take dental records and body X-rays. They use these to compare against medical records to aid identification.

“Examiners have determined that all the victims so far have died of blunt force trauma. None had been trapped in air pockets, or died of drowning, as some had feared.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Supreme Court Clears Way For Same-Sex Marriages In Florida

The Supreme Court declined to extend a stay on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, who said in August that Florida’s 2008 ban is unconstitutional. The stay expires in January.


CEO Says Sony Pictures ‘Did Not Capitulate,’ Is Exploring Options

Melissa Block talks to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton about the cyber attack against his company and the cancellation of the Christmas Day release of The Interview.


Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.

Obama Says ‘James Flacco.’ The Internet Says, Thank You

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama said “James Flacco” when referring to James Franco — on a Friday before the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received online.


Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

Environmental groups had sought to have coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants, regulated as hazardous waste.


"I didn't want to fire things up," St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch says of his silence since announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

St. Louis Grand Jury Heard Witnesses Who Lied, Prosecutor Says

Weeks after he announced a grand jury’s decision not to indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in Michael Brown’s death, prosecutor Robert McCulloch explains some of his own decisions in the case.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments