A young father has become the latest known victim of the California mudslides, according to ABC News. This young father's body was found after those of two other members of his family, including his 6-year-old son and his father-in-law. The man's 2-year-old daughter still hasn't been found, according to reports.
Pinit Sutthithepa, 30, was missing until Saturday afternoon when his body was recovered. The troubling discovery of this young father's body brings the total death toll up to 20. Sutthithepa's father-in-law, Richard Loring Taylor, was 79 years old.
CNN reported on Monday that searchers are still searching for debris in order to search for missing people. Four people still remain missing.
The mudslides came last Tuesday, ruining roughly 65 homes and damaging hundreds more. The rain poured down on hillsides charred by wildfires, burning vegetation that otherwise may have prevented the mudslides from occurring.
The Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history, burned more than 281,000 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The fire wasn't fully contained until Friday.
Thus, rescuers have searched for missing persons after mud and boulders barreled into neighborhoods in and near Montecito. Unfortunately, the mudslides destroyed many homes and made important roads impassable.
The New York Times reports that thousands of Southern California residents have gathered in Santa Barbara on Sunday for a vigil in honor of the 20 victims. Friends, family, and neighbors came together in solidarity outside the Santa Barbara Courthouse. They held candles and signs, and they brought with them heartwarming stories about the loved ones no longer with them.
It was, according to the NYT, a moment for reflection amid swift and urgent measures to bring recovery to the state. With infrastructure and homes destroyed, and with families now separated, California is in urgent need of swift recovery.
US 101, a major freeway connecting Northern and Southern California, still remains closed. So far, it is not clear when the highway will be cleared for travel.
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