Man thought found after mudslide still missing

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

7:15 p.m.

Authorities in California say a man they thought they had found after this week’s mudslide is actually still missing.

At a news conference Friday, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown had said 53-year-old John Keating was among the missing. Brown returned to the microphone minutes later to say a call had been received and Keating had been found at a hospital outside the area.

But the sheriff’s office had to walk back that conclusion a few hours later when they learned it was a different John Keating found at the hospital, and the one they were seeking was still missing.

Authorities also added one more name to the missing list, 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin. He brings the total of missing to seven.

The sheriff’s office says Weltzin and the Keating who is still missing are homeless men who frequent the Montecito area.


4:45 p.m.

A man was located just moments after his name was announced as one of the people still missing after the California mudslide.

At a news conference Friday, Sheriff Bill Brown said six people were still missing after the slide, including 53-year-old John Keating.

Before the news conference had ended, Brown returned to the microphone, and with a happy tone said a phone call had just come in about Keating.

“He is in an out-of-area hospital being treated. So our missing list is down to five,” Brown said.


4:15 p.m.

Authorities say an 87-year-old man has become the 18th person to die in a California mudslide.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Joseph Bleckel was found dead in his home by a search-and-rescue team at about 11:30 a.m. Friday. His is the first death announced from the slide since Wednesday.

Brown said Bleckel had been on the sheriff’s missing persons list before he was discovered. No further details were released about his death.

Six people remain on the missing list. Their ages range from 2 to 53.


1:30 p.m.

A Mexican woman says her 27-year-old sister, her 3-year-old niece and the girl’s 10-year-old cousin died when pre-dawn mudslides hit the home they were renting in Montecito.

Jennifer Ramos says Marilyn Ramos shared the home with her husband, Antonio Benitez, and the family of his brother, Victor Benitez.

The Benitez brothers survived. But Victor Benitez lost one of his sons, 10-year-old Jonathan Benitez, and his wife, Fabiola, is missing.

Jennifer Ramos says the Benitez brothers and Victor…

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