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Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to 33

Medical examiner's office identifies 30 victims

EVERETT, Wash.  — The death toll from the landslide that hit the Washington town of Oso rose to 33 today, according to the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office, which said all but three have been identified.

The latest name added to the list is Billy L. Spillers, 30, of Arlington. Like the others, he died of multiple blunt force injuries in the March 22 slide that crushed the residential area along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

His name had been on the list of missing.

The number of missing dropped to 10 today, said Kelly Stowe, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. The number of missing does not necessarily correlate with the number of dead, said Stowe. The missing list remains fluid as names are added and removed, she said.

Spillers was a Navy chief petty officer who lived with his wife Jonielle and their four children. She was at her nursing job when the landslide hit their house. Spillers’ 4-year-old son survived and was rescued by a helicopter.

Spillers’ daughter Kaylee, 5, and stepson Jovon Mangual, 13, have been identified among the dead. Two-year-old daughter Brooke is listed among the missing.

As the search continues in the debris for bodies, the Army Corps of Engineers is working on a berm — a rock and gravel barrier — to prevent the river from flooding parts of the debris field and state Highway 530. Engineers hope to finish berm in a week.

A forecast of warmer and mostly drier spring weather this week should help. But rain showers Tuesday will cause the river to rise about a foot in the pool formed by the mudslide, the National Weather Service said. That’s 2 or 3 feet below the high reached on March 30.

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