Water rising with 4 still missing

EVERETT — As water rose in the North Fork Stillaguamish River, county officials on Thursday said they had identified all 39 bodies recovered so far from the debris field of the March 22 mudslide near Oso.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner and the county sheriff’s office said only four people remain missing.

Three people were newly identified by the medical examiner Thursday. They are Ronald DeQuilettes, 52, of Arlington, an electrician who was working at the summer home of Larry and Sandra Miller; Sandra Miller, 64, of Everett; and Wyatt Ruthven, 4, of Oso.

Those who remain missing are Steven N. Hadaway, 53, of Darrington, who was installing a TV satellite dish at a home in the Steelhead Drive neighborhood; Steve Harris, 52, and Theresa Harris, 53, of Edmonds, who had a cabin on 312th Street NE; and Molly Kristine “Kris” Regelbrugge, 44, of Oso, the wife of John Regelbrugge III, who was killed in the slide.

As searchers continued their work, a flood warning for the north fork of the Stilly, upstream from slide debris which partially blocked the river almost four weeks ago, was extended a week, until next Thursday.

Rain resumed in earnest this week, with 1.84 inches recorded in 24 hours at Oso and another inch expected into Thursday night. Up to 1.5 inches were forecast for the mountains.

“The river will continue rising today (Thursday), cresting tonight before midnight with the largest flows since the slide occurred,” the National Weather Service said in its flood warning.

Recovery workers at the debris field have built a 3,000-foot berm to hold back water from an area they have drained and are searching. This week they added a foot of height in anticipation of the rising river.

“There is a great amount of uncertainty in the forecast … crest due in part to limited knowledge of how much water the new stream channel through the slide debris will be able to convey,” the Weather Service said.

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