Body of Montecito Woman Found, Brings Mudslide Death Toll to 21
CALIFORNIA — The body of a 28-year-old California woman, missing since savage mudslides hit nearly two weeks ago, was found Saturday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office said.
Faviola Benitez Calderon was one of three people still missing after the catastrophe swept away homes and lives in the coastal town of Montecito.
A search team using detection dogs found her body Saturday morning.
At least 21 people died in the mudslides, including Calderon’s son, niece and sister-in-law, the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection said.
The rain poured down on hillsides charred by recent wildfires that had burned vegetation that otherwise could make the terrain more resistant to mudslides.
For days, rescuers searched frantically for the missing after mud and boulders barreled into neighborhoods in and near Montecito, an affluent seaside community east of Santa Barbara. The mudslides demolished homes and left roads impassable.