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Victims of Montecito mudslides include couples, retirees, children

Laura J. Nelson and Paloma Esquivel, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- Peter Fleurat and his partner, Lalo Barajas, wanted to ride out the storm together.

Their house on Hot Springs Road in Montecito was in a voluntary evacuation zone. The couple decided to stay home, keeping an eye on their sprawling property -- especially their beloved garden and koi pond.

Early Tuesday morning, the floor began to roll underneath their bed. Then a wave of mud and debris punched through their wall. The force of the debris flow sucked them both out of the house, Barajas told CBS News.

"Grab onto some wood, and don't let go," Fleurat yelled as he was swept away.

Barajas survived with cuts, bruises and a sprained neck. Fleurat was killed.

The 18 victims identified in the Montecito mudslides were children and retirees, immigrants and longtime residents, united by the mud and debris that crashed through their neighborhood Tuesday.

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Santa Barbara officials have cautioned that the death toll could still rise. Five people remained missing as of Friday afternoon.

Here are the stories of some of the victims:


Fleurat, 73, loved the outdoors -- and he loved an audience.


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