California mudslide casualties increase to 18

By Susan McFarland  |  Updated Jan. 14, 2018 at 8:32 AM
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Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Emergencies officials found a 87-year-old man dead Saturday, increasing the number of people who have died because of the California mudslides to 18.

A statement from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office said the body of the 87-year-old Montecito man was inside his home.

The number of dead could climb as crews search through about 30 square miles of mud and debris in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Reports of how many remain missing have varied in numbers, with Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown on Thursday saying up to 43 people might still be missing, and that the toll could fluctuate.

On Saturday, the sheriff's office released a statement asking for the public's help in locating several missing people related the Tuesday storm. The list included names and photos of seven people from 2 to 62 years old.

On Friday, the sheriff's department issued a new mandatory evacuation order for an area of Montecito. Officials established the evacuation because foot and pedestrian traffic was impacting the ability of rescue efforts.

The sheriff's department evacuated more than 200 residents and 50 staff members at a Santa Barbara retirement community.

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