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Death toll in Washington state landslide rises to 35

April 08, 2014|By Maria L. La Ganga
  • A woman takes a picture of ribbons left for landslide victims on a bridge over the Stillaguamish River in Washington state.
A woman takes a picture of ribbons left for landslide victims on a bridge… (Jordan Stead / )

SEATTLE — After a major disaster, there is often a terrible seesaw between death tolls and missing lists: As one rises, the other falls.

That’s what happened Tuesday in Washington state’s deadly March 22 landslide. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office said the death toll had risen to 35 from 34, and the sheriff’s office said the missing list had dropped to 11 from an even dozen.

The victim identified Tuesday was Brooke Spillers, 2, who died of multiple blunt-force injuries. Four of the dead whose remains have been received by the medical examiner’s office are still  unidentified.

On Monday, Brooke’s father, Billy L. Spillers, 30, of Arlington, Wash., was identified. Brooke's sister, Kaylee B. Spillers, 5, was among the first victims identified. The body of her stepbrother,  Jovon E. Mangual, 13, was identified Thursday.

Also Tuesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that President Obama would travel on April 22 to the site of the mammoth slide that closed State Route 530 and destroyed dozens of homes.

On the one-month anniversary of the slide, the president is scheduled to meet with families of the dead and missing and with first responders and recovery workers, Inslee said.

“From the earliest days following the slide, the president has closely monitored events in the area and shown his concerns for the victims and their families,” Inslee said in a statement announcing the visit. “He and his team have been important partners in the response effort, and I believe this visit will strengthen those ties as we face the tough work ahead.”

Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both Democrats, expressed gratitude Tuesday for the president’s upcoming visit – and for the federal government’s support in the form of disaster assistance and an extension of the April 15 tax deadline for those affected by the slide.

"We are confident that President Obama will see what we have seen," the senators wrote in a joint statement, "the tremendous resolve and determination of the people of Oso, Darrington and Arlington in the face of tragedy."

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