News

Last victim of deadly Washington mudslide found

Last victim of deadly Washington mudslide found

MUDSLIDE:This April 16 file photo shows a flag resting at half staff on a cedar pole with the face of the massive deadly mudslide that hit the community of Oso, Wash. on March 22 behind it. A report released Tuesday, July 22 by a team of scientists says intense rainfall likely played a major role in triggering a deadly landslide in the state of Washington. Photo: Associated Press/Ted S. Warren

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – Search teams in Washington State have found the remains of a person thought to be the last victim of a mudslide that buried an entire community in March and killed 43 people, county authorities said.

The body believed to be that of 44-year-old Molly Kristine “Kris” Regelbrugge was located Tuesday morning on the western edge of the disaster site. Medical examiners expect to confirm identification once the remains are recovered, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The Seattle Times reported that the body was found in a deep pocket of debris believed to have been the garage of Regelbrugge’s home, about 100 yards from the spot where the remains of her husband, U.S. Navy Commander L. John Regelbrugge III, were recovered on March 25.

PHOTOS: Washington state mudslide

They were among 43 people who perished when a rain-soaked hillside collapsed above the north fork of the Stillaguamish River, unleashing a torrent of mud that obliterated the enclave of Steelhead Haven on the outskirts of Oso, Washington, 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

More than 50 homes were swallowed in the March 22 landslide, the deadliest in U.S. history.

A 186-page report sponsored by the National Science Foundation from a team of experts who examined the site said it was “highly probable” that three weeks of heavy showers immediately preceding the event had “played a major role in triggering the landslide.”

But the scientists said they did not reach any definitive conclusions as to whether logging in the area was a factor. The same river valley has had a long history of landslides, most of which predated timber harvesting, they said.

“Our investigation is not intended to be a final, conclusive study of the landslide, and we did not seek to unequivocally establish causative factors,” the scientists said in the report, which they characterized as a preliminary assessment.

They did, however, largely rule out the possibility that an earthquake triggered the slide, saying records indicated no significant seismic activity in the days before the disaster.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman from Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Oh no! ‘Bennifer’ are divorcing

bennifer

Actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck say they've decided to divorce after 10 years of marriage.

in Entertainment

Men bring the moves, but ladies take charge in ‘Magic Mike XXL’

14-overlay11

The film, which hits theaters July 1, follows 2012's surprise hit with Channing Tatum rejoining the Kings of Tampa, his rogue band of male entertainers.

in Entertainment

EL James takes ‘Fifty Shades’ of heat during Twitter Q&A

eljames

#AskELJames backfired in terrific style because of course it did.

in Entertainment

20 years after ‘Showgirls,’ Elizabeth Berkley comes ‘full circle’

berkley

The former "Saved by the Bell" actress starred as an exotic dancer in the film, which was initially slammed by critics and flopped at the box office.