The Montecito mudslides have taken 17 victims and among those, four children have been confirmed dead. As People reports, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez was the youngest of the children taken by the tragedy. A missing 12-year-old, Sawyer Corey, has also been found and pronounced dead.
The Corey family was sleeping in their home when mud came through the area. Their house literally collapsed around them on Tuesday morning and two of the members went missing. Sawyer Corey and 25-year-old Morgan were initially pronounced missing. Sawyer’s twin sister, Summer, and their mother, Carie Baker, were found and are recovering at a local hospital.
“It doesn’t even seem real. It’s been a blur,” Baker's nephew, Logan Kessler, said. “[I felt] scared, helpless and pain for those girls. I couldn’t sleep last night, knowing they were still alone.”
Carrie is seen with the twins below. Morgan has still not been found.
Kessler shared that he and others were unable to get to the area to help with the search efforts because the roads are closed. “The only words I can really think of to describe what it looked [like] was it looked like a World War I battlefield,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said of the mudslides. “It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere.”
As of Tuesday, at least 25 people were injured. As many as 43 people have been reported missing as of yesterday. Authorities have named other victims that were killed: David Cantin, 49; Peter Fleurat, 73; Josephine Gower, 69; John McManigal, 61; Alice Mitchell, 78; James Mitchell, 89; Mark Montgomery, 22; Marilyn Ramos, 27; Rebecca Riskin, 61; Roy Rohter, 84, Richard Taylor, 67 and 6-year-old Peerawat Suthhithepn.
Celebrities including Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres have been affected by the tragedy and have spoken out for the victims. “This room is always so full of positivity and love and today I really need it. So many times over the past 15 years people have come up to me and say to me that when they’re going through a tough time this show helps them through it,” DeGeneres told her audience. “Today, I need you because there’s a lot going on in my life right now.” The host was evacuated from her home in Santa Barbara County. “They’re finding people and bodies and I mean, you hear the word mudslide and you have no idea the impact that it has, but after the largest fire in California history, it’s catastrophic. It is beyond recognizable.”
[Photo: Logan Kessler]