A body was found Thursday at the scene of a devastating landslide in Washington state where two people are still listed as missing after the disaster.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said the county medical examiner would determine whether the body was that of Steven Hadaway or Molly Kristine Regelbrugge, a process that could take several days. Forty-one people have been confirmed killed in the March 22 slide.
Although the official search for the last two victims ended on April 28, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Sgt. Danny Wickstrom had been at the scene on and off for the past few weeks and found the body while searching the debris on Thursday, said sheriff's communications director Shari Ireton.
Crews removing debris from private property and State Route 530, which was buried in the slide, have also been keeping a keen watch.
“It’s always been at the forefront of all of the workers out there that two people are still missing,” Ireton said.
Regelbrugge, 44, was the wife of Navy Cmdr. L. John Regelbrugge III, who was among those killed when a mountainside above a rural subdivision near Oso, about 50 miles north of Seattle, collapsed and swept away homes and vehicles and temporarily dammed the Stillaguamish River.
The Regelbrugges had been at their home on Steelhead Drive that Saturday morning. One of their sons lived at home but had left for work before the slide occurred.
Hadaway, 53, was in the subdivision installing a satellite TV dish when the slide hit.
"He loved the mountains so maybe he is home, maybe that will be his resting place," his brother, Frank Hadaway, told NBC station KING5 of Seattle in April.
There have been questions about whether residents were warned adequately about the dangers of living near the slope that collapsed.
Snohomish County in 2004 had considered buying up property in the area “to remove the risk to human life and structures.” Instead, authorities worked to stabilize the base of the slope where it met the river.
— Gil Aegerter