Hope fading for 90 on refined missing list

ARLINGTON — Up to 90 people now are considered missing, or worse, as a result of the Oso mudslide.

That’s roughly half of the population of the small community prior to the slide, Snohomish County emergency management director John Pennington said Wednesday.

While the number of missing has been in flux since the hillside collapsed Saturday and is still uncertain, “I think we have to be honest with ourselves,” Pennington told a press conference.

Missing-persons detectives and others have spent days working to confirm who among the reported missing belong on the list of possible victims, he said.

While about 140 people previously thought to be missing have turned up alive, dozens more haven’t been found, Pennington said.

“I think we have to be logical here,” he said of the likely reason why.

The announcement came after rescuers for the fifth straight day combed a square-mile field of mud, rocks, crushed homes and vehicles, looking for signs of life.

So far, officials have acknowledged evidence of at least 25 deaths, following confirmation of one more Wednesday evening. They expect that number to continue to climb.

Meanwhile, a task force has been pulled together to “effectively and respectfully” reopen Highway 530, removing debris and also recovering any people who may be entombed there, Pennington said.

Earlier in the day, he thanked people who have rushed aid to the community. Late Tuesday, about $600,000 had been donated and was expected to increase.

“We are humbled beyond belief in this county. It is very humbling and we are respectfully very grateful,” Pennington said.

The Mountain Loop Highway was reopened Wednesday afternoon, reconnecting Darrington with Granite Falls and providing an alternate route.

In Arlington, local pastors met to coordinate their availability for grieving families, once they have been notified of their loved ones’ deaths.

“We created a list of emergency contacts — direct cell numbers — so that families won’t have to call church offices,” said Chuck Shocki, lead pastor of the Arlington Free Methodist Church.

They’ll share those numbers with Ralph Fry, the senior chaplain with Stanwood Camano Incident Support. The volunteer chaplains are often used for death notifications.

Up Highway 530 at the Trafton General Store, 12-year-old Kelsey Lee, a student at Arlington’s Post Middle School, has raised $600 to give to a friend’s family.

Jovon “Jojo” Mangual is among the missing, as are his step-dad and two half-sisters. His mother and half-brother survived. “He was very fun to hang out with,” Kelsey said.

Herald reporter Julie Muhlstein contributed to this story.

New phone number

Officials asked that people with information about missing persons call the sheriff’s office tip line at 425-388-3845. A special line staffed by emergency operators has been discontinued.

A hotline also been set up for people who need counseling: 800-584-3578.

More in Local News

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Train kills man who was trying to get off tracks in Monroe

The conductor said he attempted to stop after sighting the man, who’d been lying on the rails.

Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Most Read