January 11, 2018 / 6:51 PM / 9 months ago

Factbox: Victims of deadly California mudslides

(Reuters) - The founder of a Roman Catholic school and four children were among the victims of a deadly series of mudslides in Santa Barbara County, California, that killed 17 people along the coast, officials said on Thursday.

Roy Rohter, 84, the founder of the St. Augustine Academy Roman Catholic school who died when a mud slide swept him from his home in Montecito, poses in an undated photo received January 11, 2018. Courtesy of St. Augustine Academy/Handout via REUTERS.

The mudslides also injured nearly 30 people and destroyed about 100 homes in the Montecito area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest. Rescue workers were searching on Thursday for more missing people.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday identified the 17 killed, citing the cause of death as multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides due to the recent wildfire.

* David Cantin, 49, was the father of 14-year-old Lauren Cantin, whom rescuers pulled from her Montecito home earlier this week, the Associated Press reported.

* Josephine Gower, 69, died when she was swept away in the mudslides, her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday. Her body was found that night, near a highway hit by the slide.

“I told her to stay on the second floor but she went downstairs and opened the door and just got swept away,” her son, Hayden Gower, told NBC affiliate KSBY. “I should have just told her to leave. You just don’t even think that this is possible.”

* James and Alice Mitchell, 89 and 78 respectively, who moved to the Montecito area in 1999, were found dead on a different street from their destroyed home, KSBY reported on Thursday, citing the couple’s daughter, Kelly Weimer.

* Roy Rohter, 84, founder of the Saint Augustine Academy, a private Catholic school in Ventura, was killed on Tuesday when a mudslide swept him from his Montecito home, according to school officials.

* Rebecca Riskin, a 61-year-old retired professional ballerina, founder of Riskin Partners real estate firm and nearly 30-year Montecito resident and businesswoman, died in Montecito as a result of the flooding and mudslides in the area, the firm confirmed in a Facebook post and statement.

* Peter Fleurat, 73, who studied nursing at Santa Barbara City College and worked as an end-of-life caregiver, died after water swept through his Montecito home, KSBY reported. He shared the home with his partner who owned a cafe in Santa Barbara. Family friends told the station that the pair had been asleep in their home early in the morning when water rushed inside.

* Mark Montgomery, 54, a doctor at Associated Hand Surgeons, was at home with his wife and two children when they were caught in the mudslide, a family friend told to KSBY. He had served as clinical instructor in the department of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School, according to his office’s website.

* Caroline Montgomery, 22, Mark Montgomery’s daughter, also died in the slide, KSBY reported.

Others identified by the sheriff’s office included:

Jonathan Benitez, 10

Kailly Benitez, 3

Martin Cabrera-Munoz, 48

Sawyer Corey, 12

John McManigal, 61

Marilyn Ramos, 27

Peerawat Sutthithepn, 6

Richard Taylor, 67

Roy Rohter, 84, the founder of the St. Augustine Academy Roman Catholic school who died when a mud slide swept him from his home in Montecito, poses in an undated photo received January 11, 2018. Courtesy of St. Augustine Academy/Handout via REUTERS

Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Additional reporting by Chris Kenning and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio, Lisa Shumaker and Daniel Wallis

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