5-year-old daughter of local man among dead in Washington state landslide

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The 5-year-old daughter of a Chartiers-Houston high school grad was killed in a Washington state landslide, officials said Thursday.

Kaylee B. Spillers of Arlington, Wash. was identified by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office and died of blunt force impact, according to the county's website.

It was unclear late Saturday if her father, Billy Spillers, and two siblings are still among the missing. Authorities said Saturday that number plummeted to 30 after many people were found safe.

Officials previously set the number of missing people at 90, but said they expected that figure to drop dramatically as they worked to find people and cross-referenced a list that included partial reports and duplicates.

The confirmed death toll rose by one on Saturday, to 18, Jason Biermann, program manager at the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, said at a Saturday evening briefing.

The search by heavy equipment, dogs and bare hands for victims from the slide was going “all the way to the dirt” as crews looked for anything to provide answers for family and friends a week after a small mountainside community was destroyed.

All work on the debris field halted briefly Saturday for a moment of silence to honor those lost. Gov. Jay Inslee had asked people across Washington to pause at 10:37 a.m., the time the huge slide struck on March 22, destroying a neighborhood in the community of Oso north of Seattle.

“People all over stopped work — all searchers — in honor of that moment, so people we are searching for know we are serious,” Snohomish County Fire District 1 battalion chief Steve Mason said.

An American flag had been run up a tree and then down to half-staff at the debris site, he said.

Finding and identifying all the victims could stretch on for a very long time, and authorities have warned that not everyone may ultimately be accounted for after one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history.

A donation site for the Spillers family has been set up at : https://www.youcaring.com/other/donations-for-jonielle-spiller-washington-mudslide-victim/154106

Lexi Belculfine contributed to this story.


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