Washington landslide death toll rises to 27

Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-01 11:26:41-04

By John Newsome

(CNN) — The death toll in last month’s massive landslide in rural Washington state has risen to 27, up three from the last count, the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office said Tuesday.

That aligns with information authorities released a day earlier, when three bodies were discovered in the 640-acre debris field left after the landslide in Snohomish County. Authorities have not been immediately adding newly discovered bodies to the official toll, instead waiting until they are identified and their families notified.

Twenty-two people still are missing, down from 30 on Monday, authorities said.

Authorities so far have released the names of 19 victims, ranging in age from 4 months to 71 years.

The 19th name, Brandy L. Ward, was released Tuesday. Ward, 58, of Arlington, died of multiple blunt force injuries, the medical examiner’s office said.

On March 22, a rain-saturated hillside along the north fork of the Stillaguamish River gave way, sending a square-mile rush of wet earth and rock into the outskirts of the town of Oso in Washington’s North Cascade Mountains.

Each day hundreds of searchers and dogs go through the muck — 70 feet thick in some places — looking for bodies, though some cling to hope someone might be found alive.

CNN’s Jason Hanna and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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