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Medical examiner: 39 now confirmed dead in Washington State mudslide

Seven people still unaccounted for in Washington mudslide with final death toll likely to be 43.
By Frances Burns   |   April 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM   |   Comments

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EVERETT, Wash., April 16 (UPI) -- A total of 39 bodies have been recovered from the mudslide that hit Oso, Wash., the Snohomish County Medical Examiner reported Wednesday.

Three of the bodies have not yet been unidentified. Their names are likely to be on the list of the seven people listed as missing by the Sheriff's Office, putting the toll at 43.

The mudslide on a hillside over the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River on March 22 buried a square mile of the village of Oso and destroyed dozens of houses. It is now the third deadliest natural disaster in Washington history after the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens and a 1910 avalanche that buried two passenger trains in Stevens Pass.

The slide appears to have claimed at least one indirect victim. The body of Christopher Dombrowski, a soldier who had taken a leave from the U.S. Army to help in the search for his aunt and uncle, was found Tuesday, dead in an apparent suicide.

Dombrowski's uncle, Steve Harris, 52, and his aunt, Theresa Harris, 53, were still listed as missing Wednesday. Also on the list was a child, Wyatt Ruthven, 4, and Ronald de Quiletts, 52, Steven Hadaway, 53, Sandra Miller, 64, and Molly Kristine "Kris" Regelbrugge, 44.

All the missing had homes in the area.

Many flags were flying at half-staff Wednesday. Inslee ordered flags had state buildings lowered from noon Tuesday through noon on Tuesday, April 22, the one-month anniversary of the disaster and the date of a scheduled visit by President Obama.

[Snohomish County Medical Examiner]
[Snohomish County Sheriff's Office]

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