MONTECITO (CBSLA) — Nine months after a devastating mudslide killed 21 people in the community of Montecito in Santa Barbara County, the search continues for two missing children.
In the coming weeks, a bucket brigade will ramp up its search for 17-year-old Jack Cantin and 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa, who were swept away in the Jan. 9 mudflows that killed 21 people and destroyed more than 100 homes.
Many piles of dirt and debris sat untouched for months and were pushed aside for emergency access. One woman working with the bucket brigade says the piles of dirt are a heartbreaking reminder.
“One of the moms of a child that’s still missing spoke about, you know, that feeling of going down the road and seeing the piles of dirt that are still here, and wondering if their child is in that pile,” she said. “I can’t imagine what that’s like.”
The missing children is open wound for both the Cantin and Sutthithepa families, who each lost family members to the mudslide.
Some workers believe the children were swept all the way down to the ocean. If the children aren’t found on any of the remaining five properties, a memorial will be held at the beach.
An estimated 4 million buckets of mud and debris have been collected, and more than 80 homes have been searched.