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The Latest: Authorities: Number of missing in mudslide now 5

January 12, 2018

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on deadly debris flows that devastated Montecito, California (all times local):

6:55 a.m.

Southern California authorities say the number of people missing since debris-laden flash floods smashed through the community of Montecito is now five, down from as many as 43 a day earlier.

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson released the latest number early Friday.

Anderson says the number dropped because people were located, but it could continue to fluctuate greatly.

She says some missing-person reports are rapidly cleared while others take a long time to resolve.

The number of confirmed fatalities remains at 17.

Anderson says the number of personnel searching ravaged neighborhoods has doubled over the past day to 1,250.

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11:31 p.m.

The oldest victim swept away in a California mudslide was Jim Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.

The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed.

As their names and those of 14 other victims were released Thursday, crews kept digging through the muck and rubble looking for more people.

Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said the likelihood is increasing that rescue crews will be finding bodies instead of survivors at this point.

The mudslide swept through the coastal community of Montecito on Tuesday morning, catching many of the victims entirely off-guard.

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