Area school graduate, his 3 children missing after landslide
March 24, 2014 11:38 PM
By Robert Zullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Navy chief petty officer and 2001 graduate of Chartiers-Houston High School, and with three of his children are among the missing after a massive landslide Saturday, near Oso, Wash., the Navy confirmed.
Billy Spillers, a Navy career counselor assigned to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility detachment in Everett, Wash., and his children are "currently listed as unaccounted for in the wake of the tragic mudslide," a Naval spokeswoman wrote in an email.
The landslide -- which crushed a rural neighborhood about 55 miles north of Seattle under a 1-square mile of mud, rocks and debris -- was blamed on heavy rainfall. At least 14 people are dead and as many as 108 unaccounted for.
Officials in Snohomish County said concerns about another slide resulted in some rescue crews being pulled back Monday so geologists can assess the risk.
However, at least 100 rescue crew, as well as search dogs, hovercraft and helicopters, are looking for additional victims.
Chief Petty Officer Spillers' relatives and friends could not immediately be reached, but social media posts from his wife, Jonielle Spillers, who was not home when the landslide hit, indicate the family lived on Steelhead Drive, near the center of the area devastated by the slide.
"I am not giving up and I know they will find my babies and husband today," Ms. Spillers posted on Facebook. "Please pray for all of us. ... Steelhead Drive family, they are coming for you today."
Chief Petty Officer Spillers was an all-conference defensive end for the Buccaneers in his senior year and also played basketball, said Philip Mary, the school's principal.
Robert Zullo: rzullo@post-gazette or 412-263-3039. Mary Niederberger and Associated Press contributed.
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