By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
OSO — Two families are waiting for DNA test results to learn if remains found Thursday in the Oso debris fields belong to loved ones they lost in the March 22 mudslide.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement Thursday afternoon, but did not say if the person found is a man or woman.
All but two of the 43 known slide victims had been found and identified.
The remaining two are Steven Hadaway, 53, of Darrington and Molly Kristine “Kris” Regelbrugge, 44, who lived in the Steelhead Haven neighborhood of Oso.
“It has not been confirmed that the body found today is that of Steven Hadaway or Molly Kristine “Kris” Regelbrugge,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. “Identification of the deceased, as well as cause and manner of death, will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.”
The medical examiner’s office on Thursday did not know how long it might take to make a positive identification.
John Hadaway is Steven’s brother. He has been in frequent contact with the sheriff’s and medical examiner’s offices since the slide. He was given advance word Thursday about the discovery.
Hadaway said it is too early to get his hopes up. He knows that some bodies found earlier were not intact and that it is possible the remains discovered Thursday could belong to someone who already has been identified.
“Until they do a DNA test, it could be someone they found three weeks ago,” he said.
Steven Hadaway was a father who served in the Marine Corps and lived in Darrington. He was installing a TV satellite dish at the home of another slide victim when mud carried him away.
Kris Regelbrugge was a mother to grown children and the wife of John Regelbrugge III, an active duty Navy commander. His body was found.
The remains found Thursday were discovered by sheriff’s Sgt. Danny Wikstrom, who oversees search-and-rescue operations in the county.
“He was not out there on an active search,” Ireton said.
The discovery was not related to cleanup work being done along Highway 530, which was buried in the slide, said Travis Phelps, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
“It’s not from our part of the slide,” Phelps said.
John Hadaway said he hopes that the remains are either his brother or Regelbrugge.
“Do I get my hopes up? I try not to,” Hadaway said. “When you are out there and you see, you understand.”
Even so, he likes to think that all of the slide’s victims eventually will be recovered.
“It could be a week. It could be a month,” he said. “It could be six months from now, but I am going to believe they will find them.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org