Mudflow and damage from mudslides are pictured in this aerial photo taken from a Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit Fire Copter over Montecito
By Gina Cherelus
(Reuters) - The founder of a Roman Catholic school and four children were among the victims of a deadly series of Santa Barbara County, California, mudslides that killed 18 people along the coast, officials said.
The mudslides also injured nearly 30 people and destroyed about 100 homes in the Montecito area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest. Rescue workers were searching for more missing people on Saturday.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office this week identified the 18 killed, citing the cause of death as multiple traumatic injuries resulting from flash floods with mudslides.
* Joseph Bleckel, 87, was found in his home on Friday, the sheriff's office said.
* David Cantin, 49, was the father of 14-year-old Lauren Cantin, whom rescuers pulled from her Montecito home earlier this week, the Associated Press reported.
* Josephine Gower, 69, died when she was swept away in the mudslides, her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday. Her body was found that night, near a highway hit by the slide.
"I told her to stay on the second floor, but she went downstairs and opened the door and just got swept away," her son, Hayden Gower, told NBC affiliate KSBY. "I should have just told her to leave. You just don't even think that this is possible."
* James and Alice Mitchell, who moved to the Montecito area in 1999, were found dead on a different street from their destroyed home, KSBY reported on Thursday, citing the couple's daughter, Kelly Weimer. James was 89, and Alice was 78.
* Roy Rohter, 84, founder of the Saint Augustine Academy in Ventura, was killed on Tuesday when a mudslide swept him from his Montecito home, according to officials at the private Catholic school.
* Rebecca Riskin, a 61-year-old retired professional ballerina and founder of real estate firm Riskin Partners, died in Montecito as a result of the flooding and mudslides in the area, the firm confirmed in a Facebook post and statement. She had lived in the city for nearly 30 years.
* Peter Fleurat, 73, who studied nursing at Santa Barbara City College and worked as an end-of-life caregiver, died after water swept through his Montecito home, KSBY reported. He shared the home with his partner, who owned a cafe in Santa Barbara. Family friends told the station that the pair had been asleep in their home early in the morning when water rushed inside.
* Mark Montgomery, 54, a doctor at Associated Hand Surgeons, was at home with his wife and two children when they were caught in the mudslide, a family friend told KSBY. He had been a clinical instructor in the department of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School, according to his office's website.
* Caroline Montgomery, 22, Mark Montgomery’s daughter, also died in the slide, KSBY reported.
* Marilyn Ramos, 27, died when mudslides hit the home her family was renting in Montecito, the Washington Post reported. A family friend said Ramos called home daily to her relatives in her native town of Marquelia near Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast.
* Jonathan Benitez, 10, was Ramos' nephew, the Washington Post said.
* Kailly Benitez, 3, was Ramos' daughter, the Post reported.
* John McManigal, 61, had six sons and owned a financing company in Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a Facebook post by his brother.
* Peerawat Sutthithepa, 6, who was called Pasta, loved trains, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing family friend Kevin Touly. His father, Pinit Sutthithepa, and 2-year-old sister, Lydia, are among the missing, the county sheriff's office said.
Others identified by the sheriff's office included:
* Martin Cabrera-Munoz, 48
* Sawyer Corey, 12
* Richard Taylor, 67
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Additional reporting by Chris Kenning and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Keith Coffman in Denver.; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Von Ahn)