Determining how many people remain missing in the fatal Washington state mudslide remains a painstaking process for emergency officials.
The number of those unaccounted for, now believed to be around 90, has been adjusted lower since Saturday’s disaster as more people are confirmed safe, identified as duplicates or inevitably counted among the dead.
But those who've disappeared in the Oso tragedy aren't nameless: They include a woman who had just bought her first home, a young couple looking forward to getting married, and a father and his kids who were watching TV when everything changed.
• Amanda Lennick, 31, of Steelhead Drive was a nurse who had just bought her first house in Oso along the Stillaguamish River. She was working on fixing it up, and had three workmen over on Saturday morning to put the finishing touches on the home.
Her mom, Jamie Lennick, told NBC News that she planned to see her daughter that morning, but realized the house was right in the landslide’s path.
Lennick's boss at Providence Medical Center in Everett said she was excited about having her own home. “She was telling me, ‘Hey I’ve got the house. I’ve moved in. It’s great,’” Norm McFarland told NBC affiliate KING5.
• Steve Hadaway, 53, of Darrington, Wash., was a Dish Network technician believed to have been at Lennick’s home to install a satellite dish. His brother told The Seattle Times that he is a “dedicated” person. He moved to Darrington seven years ago and would text his brothers pictures of the Whitehorse Mountains with their majestic views. Deep down, Hadaway had a soft side. His wife, Marrge, would call the military veteran a “creampuff Marine,” the Everett Herald reported.
• Stephen Neal, 55, was a master plumber with his own business and had been working at Lennick’s home, according to reports.
•Thomas and Marcy Satterlee of Steelhead Drive were home Saturday morning, hosting their 19-year-old granddaughter, Delaney Webb, and Webb’s fiancé, Alan Bejvl. Thomas Satterlee, 65, was a Marine in Vietnam, his daughter told The New York Times. “If anyone could make it, he could,” Andrea Hulme said.
Thomas Satterlee, 65, was part of a group that sought to secede from the country over land-rights issues.
Bejvl’s grandmother, Ruvena Bejvl, told NBC News that her 22-year-old grandson was “very friendly” and dependable. She said the young couple had plans to see Webb’s mother later that day. “We still can't believe that he is gone,” Ruvena Bejvl said.
• Four of the six members of the Spillers family of Steelhead Drive remain missing. Billy Spillers, 30, along with stepson Jovon Manual, 13, and half-sisters Kaylee Spillers, 5, and Brooke Spillers, 2, were home at the time of the slide. Spillers’ 4-year-old son, Jacob Spillers, was also home but managed to make it out alive.
Billy Spillers was a chief petty officer in the Navy, and had moved to the neighborhood two years ago from Seattle with his wife, Jonielle Spillers. Jonielle, a nurse, was reportedly at work during the slide and has since been reunited with her son, KING5 reported.
• Joe Miller, 47, of Steelhead Drive lived in a double-wide motor home with his father but was getting ready to move out, according to his sister, Pamela Sanford. Their father, Reed Miller, was out grocery shopping when the slide hit, leaving the younger Miller home alone. She said her brother enjoyed fly fishing along the Stillaguamish River when he was younger, and as an adult loved fishing and hunting. The land, she added, was “where he wanted to be.”
• Tom Durnell, 65, shared his Steelhead Drive home with his wife, Debbie, who wasn’t there at the time of the slide. Durnell had worked as a stage manager and carpenter for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as well as the Intiman Theater in Seattle, reported The Register-Guard. On Facebook, he boasted about his growing family: “I have three daughters and two sons and while my investment in them is in love and wisdom rather than genetics, that suits me just fine. They have provided us with 6 granddaughters and 1 grandson and I’m sure they ain’t done yet!”
• Shelley Bellomo, 53, and her longtime partner, Jerry Logan, remain missing, according to Bellomo’s father, Pete. The couple lived together on Steelhead Drive, and Shelley Bollomo “loved living by that river,” her dad told The Seattle Times. She loved most watching bald eagles take flight there, he added.
Pete Bellomo described Logan as “an all-around handyman” who would help his neighbors with their construction projects.
• Ron deQuilettes, 52, was an electrician from Bothell, Wash., who was meeting a couple in the area for a job, his wife said. “I’m here,” he texted to his wife before the slide. The couple met in Bible college 31 years ago and had four children. The family counted on her husband’s hard work after another business went under during the recession, she told the Everett Herald.
“What a nightmare,” his wife said, “it’s a living nightmare.”
First published March 27 2014, 2:06 PM