that left at least
30 people dead, even as searchers look for more bodies.
About 250 people crammed into a golf course clubhouse in Arlington,
Washington, for the funeral of Summer Raffo, 36, a school custodian
and specialist in hoof care for horses, just a few miles from the
site where a torrent of mud swept her car off Highway 530 on March
Raffo, the fifth of 14 siblings, was later pulled from the vehicle
by a brother.
"She was tough, with so many brothers," Barak Pearson, who led her
funeral service, told mourners. He described her as shy, but a loyal
"She liked to be outdoors," he said. "She loved animals. She was
hardworking. She was dependable."
Another service was held in nearby Darrington for Linda McPherson,
69, who was found dead in the debris of her home. Her husband
survived when the mudslide engulfed the dwelling along with about
three dozen other properties on the outskirts of the community of
Oso, which lies in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains northeast
As the town's longtime head librarian, she played a key role in
educating thousands of children through the years, said Peter
Selvig, who served with her on the Darrington School Board.
"She was a sweet, mellow, gentle woman," Selvig said.
In all, three individual memorial services were being held on
Saturday and services for more victims were set for Sunday.
Of the 30 people confirmed dead by the Snohomish County Medical
Examiner's office, all but one have been identified, officials said
in a statement. Recovery crews were still searching for another 13
people still unaccounted for, but that figure could fluctuate as it
has since the day of the disaster, officials said.
Roughly 450 people from 117 different organizations were helping the
search efforts, officials said.
A community candlelight vigil was planned Saturday in Darrington and
more than 300 people were expected to attend, said Michael Duncan, the pastor of
Mountain View Baptist Church which was organizing the event.
an opportunity to begin the healing process," Duncan said.
[to top of second column]
Over the next few days, funerals are planned for 5-year-old Kaylee
Spillers, whose father and two siblings are among the dead and
missing, and Alan Bejvl, 21, whose fiance, Delaney Webb, was also
killed in the slide.
Recovery efforts have been hampered by rain creating treacherous
conditions and raising the risk of further slides and flash floods.
More rain and runoffs of melting mountain snow are forecast, with a
quarter of an inch (6 mm) of precipitation expected on Sunday,
before a two-week stretch of warm weather arrives on Monday which
officials said will aid search efforts.
A team of volunteer veterinarians was rotating shifts on Saturday to
tend to about 30 rescue dogs that have been deployed to help in the
search for more victims.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture said it is deploying
its "Reserve Veterinary Corps" for the first time. The group of 135
animal health specialists will treat dogs for minor cuts,
hyperthermia and damaged pads, as well as decontaminate them after
exposure to hazardous material and other pollutants in the debris
County officials are also organizing a "reunification" location and
process so that survivors will be able to go to retrieve personal
property recovered from the disaster site.
(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in Arlington, Washington;
reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; writing by Eric M. Johnson
and Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Gunna Dickson, Dan Grebler and Lisa
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