Authorities believe they have found the remains of a 17-year-old boy who went missing three years ago in the mudslide in Montecito, California.
Jack Cantin went missing – and was presumed dead – after the mudslide swept through the wealthy Santa Barbara County town on the morning of January 9, 2018. A storm dumped a large amount of rain in a short time on the areas burnt in the huge Thomas fire. which raged in the region for weeks in December, officials said.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said it received a one-page forensic report from an anthropologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who said the remains “match those of Jack Cantin” , according to a press release.
Anthropologist Dr Danielle Kurin said she was over 90% certain that “the remains are those of Jack Cantin,” the sheriff’s office said. The agency said it had requested the full report and that Jack’s case remains open.
More than 20 people were killed in the mudslide, including Jack’s father, David Cantin. The teenager’s mother, Kim Cantin, and his sister were injured.
In January 2018, Kim Cantin released a statement calling her husband a “selfless” man devoted to his family.
“Dave illuminated our world with a contagious smile behind which stood a man guided by his values of faith, family and his goal of making a difference,” she wrote. “I couldn’t have had a more loving, kind and dedicated husband. Our children, Jack and Lauren, couldn’t have had a better father. “
Kim Cantin could not be reached immediately on Saturday. She told local news station KEYT that her son’s remains were found within 1,000 yards of the family’s former home on Hot Springs Road in Montecito.
She said the recovery was carried out with the help of Kurin, community members and Santa Barbara County search and rescue teams.
“It was the love of everyone, whoever they were, who helped along the way,” she told the station. “What really made all of this happen was to engage the anthropology department at UCSB and Dr. Danielle Kurin, an anthropologist in forensic biology. Twenty minutes from us – what incredible technology and resources to find Jack. And that’s what they did. ”
Jack will be buried next to his father, she said.
“My family can have a shutdown. Jack’s friends may have a closure. And the community can have a closure. I know this community was amazing and everyone was rooting and praying that we would find these kids, ”she said.
Kurin said Kim Cantin contacted the university’s anthropology department in 2020 for help. It was a team of undergraduate research assistants who found the remains during the excavation and then determined that they belonged to Jack, she said in a press release.
“The victims of the mudslide are our neighbors,” Kurin said, “and as a public institution, UCSB seeks to use research for the public good. As anthropologists, we used all of the science tools in our kit to locate Jack’s remains and put an end to a family and community in the throes of tragedy.
Another victim, 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa, is still missing, authorities say. The child’s father, Pinit Sutthithepa, 30, was killed in the mudslide along with his brother, Peerawat, 6; and Pint’s stepfather, Richard Loring Taylor, 79.