A young mother’s remains have been recovered from debris after she went missing in California’s tragic mudslides earlier this month.
Nearly two weeks after cataclysmic rainfall turned mountainsides to liquid, Faviola Benitez Calderon’s body was found with the help of search dogs, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Benitez Calderon was just 28. She was also one of four members of her family struck down in the tragedy.
Her 10-year-old son, Jonathan Benitez and his 3-year-old cousin Kailly Benitez, were also killed. Kailly’s mother, 27-year-old Marilyn Ramos, died as well.
“The Sheriff’s Office wants to express our deepest condolences to the Benitez family,” the SB Sheriff’s office said in a statement.
A family friend created a GoFundMe page to support the surviving Benitez family.
With the recovery of Benitez Calderon’s remains, the death toll following the Jan. 9 storm is at 21, with two other people still missing.
Search and recovery teams, with the assistance of 16 Human Remains Detection dog teams, from throughout the state are working together this weekend in an effort to locate those missing victims and bring closure to their families, the sheriff’s office said.
Still unaccounted for are 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa and 17-year-old Jack Cantin. Lydia’s father Pinit Sutthithepa, 30, was among the dead. Pinit’s stepfather and 6-year-old son were also killed.
Jack Cantin’s sister was found nearly buried but alive and his mother was injured. His father, 49-year-old father David Cantin, was killed in the mudslides.