California

Death toll from Montecito mudslides at 21 after missing mother located

Santa Barbara County search and rescues teams located the body of 28-year-old Faviola Benitez Calderon on Saturday, January 20, 2018.
Santa Barbara County search and rescues teams located the body of 28-year-old Faviola Benitez Calderon on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Authorities located the body of a 28-year-old Montecito woman who had been missing for nearly two weeks on Saturday morning, according to a release from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

A search and recovery human remains detection dog team found Faviola Benitez Calderon at 10 a.m. Saturday in the 100 block of Santo Tomas Lane, near Olive Mill Road and above Coast Village Road.

The Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office identified the body and her family has been notified, the release said. There are now 21 confirmed fatalities related to the Jan. 9 storm and subsequent debris flow.

“The Sheriff’s Office wants to express our deepest condolences to the Benitez family, who were already mourning the loss of Faviola’s 10-year-old son, Jonathan Benitez, and his cousin, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, as well as Kailly’s mother, 27-year-old Marilyn Ramos,” spokesperson Kelly Hoover said in the release.

There are currently 16 human remain detection dog teams from throughout the state working together to locate missing victims.

Officials said two people are still missing: 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa and 17-year-old Jack Cantin.

“We continue to hold every one of these victim’s family and friends close to our hearts,” Hoover said.

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