Washington mudslide's 17th fatality confirmed

Rescuers talk about what it's like to try to find victims of the Washington state mudslide.

ARLINGTON, Wash. - Snohomish County authorities confirmed late Thursday that they had recovered 17 bodies from the devastating mudslide.

The 17th body was an infant, 4-month-old Sanoah Huestis, whose grandmother's remains were recovered earlier in the week. Sanoah's mother, Natasha Huestis, had confirmed to the Los Angeles Times in the afternoon that the child's remains had been recovered.


Sanoah body was found 10 feet from her grandmother's body, Natasha Huestis said. Christina Jefferds, 45, was babysitting.

Grandmother and granddaughter were together until the end, and for that, Natasha Huestis is grateful.

"It's an absolute relief," Huestis, 26, told The Times in a phone interview. "Now we can move on to the next part."

"We found my mom, and we found baby Sanoah."

Official confirmation came in a late-night statement from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office.

"We understand there has been confusion over the reported number of fatalities," said Travis Hots, chief of Snohomish County Fire District 22. "This has been a challenging process for all of us. The sadness here is that we know this number will only increase."

The number of missing stands at 90, and authorities say another 35 might have been in the area when a slab of mountain came down, leaving a square mile of devastation, crushing 49 homes and destroying part of State Route 530.

Hennessy-Fiske reported from Arlington and Stewart from Los Angeles. Times staff writer Matt Pearce contributed to this report.