Six members of the Houston Saldivar family – including four children – are feared dead in the floodwaters of Tropical Storm Harvey, according to The Associated Press.
KHOU-TV reported that the family had drowned “in a van on Sunday, August 27, 2017” and consisted of Manuel Saldivar, 84, his wife Belia, 81, and their great-grandchildren, Daisy Saldivar, 6, Xavier Saldivar, 8, Dominique Saldivar, 14, and Devy Saldivar, 16. Authorities had not yet confirmed the account, which KHOU said was verified by three family members.
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo told the AP, though, that he had no information about the report by KHOU-TV but was “really worried about how many bodies we’re going to find” from the Houston floods.
Devy Saldivar (Devonah) was remembered by loved ones on social media for her beautiful smile and laughing and happy demeanor. However, she expressed repeated anxiety on Facebook and Twitter over the looming hurricane in recent days.
Other members of the family were also identified in missing person posts as Xavier, Dominic, and Daisy Saldivar.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Devy Expressed Fear on Social Media About the Storm & Rescued Kittens From It
In a series of now heart-breaking tweets, Devy Saldivar expressed fear about the story. On August 27, she tweeted, “Don’t want to sleep but I’m so tired.”
That same day she wrote on Facebook at about 5:30 a.m.: “no sleep & anxiety , please let this pass sooner.” She also shared a Facebook post in which a man implored, “pray for Houston.”
On August 26, she saved a pair of kittens she found under her car.
In the midst of it all, she took time to post about the Floyd Mayweather fight. Her page says she went to Pasadena High School (Pasadena, Texas), lived in Houston, Texas, and was from Houston.
She responded to a tweet from a person expressing anxiety to say, “Same man my friends are helping me calm down tho I appreciate them so much.”
Chillingly, she wrote that same day, “Almost died trying to bring a ladder back to my house from my grandparents house , wow.” She added, “And this is only the first day of it.”
On August 26, she wrote, “Staying inside.”
On August 25, she urged friends to stay safe, writing, “🚌🍽🎉 – JUST KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU AND I HOPE YOU STAY SAFE DURING HARVEY HOPEFULLY YOULL BE OKAY 😣💞.” She also wrote: “It’s a category 4 hurricane now , geez.”
She retweeted this:
She shared the same photo on Facebook with the caption, “I ain’t scared of no hercane ” LMAOOOO.”
She retweeted a satellite comparison of Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina and a GIF expressing anxiety about Harvey.
2. The Family Is Feared Dead From Flooding While Trying to Escape
The Associated Press wrote on August 28: “BREAKING: Report: 6 family members feared dead when van swept away while trying to escape Harvey floodwaters.”
According to the KHOU-TV report, the “victims include four children (all 16 or younger) and their great-grandparents. The driver of the vehicle (the children’s great-uncle) managed to escape before the van went under water.”
The television station reported that said “the van was driving down Green River Road in Greens Bayou when it hit high floods after crossing a bridge. This caused the the van to be swept up in the current, and the driver then crawled out and told the children inside to try and get out through the back door. They were unable to do so.” The driver escaped by hanging onto a tree, KHOU-TV reported, adding that no bodies were recovered and first responders were “in the area” but didn’t have time to rescue the family.
A GoFundMe page has been established for the remaining family members. “As all of Houston is aware of the devastation around us, let us be aware of a particular sadness- the passing of 4 children due to Hurricane Harvey. Devy (16), Dominic (14), Xavier (8) and Daisy (6) Saldivar have all been called home,” the post reads.
“I’ve known Virginia Saldivar for 6 years, and if anyone knows her OR her family, they know how precious they are all to each other. The Saldivar’s are seeking prayers and assistance in this awful time. The time and date of memorials are unknown at this time. Please cover this family in prayers, and, if able, monetary donations. Please share this message and help love on this family.”
Virginia Saldivar posted her own plea for help on Facebook on August 28, writing, “If anyone has a boat that can come rescue us on Talton St please come. This is getting so scary with the water rising.” The woman who created the GoFundMe site wrote that Virginia is the children’s grandmother.
3. Loved Ones Took to Social Media to Look for the Missing Family
A woman named Jessica Rivera posted a heartbreaking missing person’s post on Facebook for the family. It read:
Looking for 2 older adults in their 80’s with 2 younger children.
They were in a car last seen at Hopper Rd. Originally they were stranded on 59 near there. The car got swept away and hasn’t been seen since.
UPDATE: Last Seen Greens Rd and John Ralston in a Van.
There is NO Confirmation they have been found. I have been in Contact with the extended family.
4. Friends Filled Devi’s Facebook Page With Memorials
“It’s makes me sad to know your gone but in a better place 🙏🏽Rest In Peace angle 👼🏼 we love you,” one friend wrote on Devi’s Facebook page.
A woman wrote, “i love you. we’d always talk about our lives and what we would do after high school was over. i’d come crying to you and end up feeling a million times better after our talks. you mean the world to me and i love you. i’ll never forget all the things we’ve done. rest easy, devs.”
Another woman wrote, “RIP BEAUTIFUL , we didn’t talk much in high school , but we did at queens , I can’t get the image out of my head seeing you in the halls you would always see you laughing & happy as ever ! YOUR BEAUTIFUL SMILE , I can’t believe this , it feels like just yesterday , you’ll never be forgotten ! My condolence goes out to your family ! WE LOVE YOU & WE GONNA MISS YOU ! 😭 REST EASY.”
5. At Least Five Others Have Died & Many Were Trapped in the Flooding
At least five other people died in what was described by the National Weather Service as an unprecedented and “catastrophic” hurricane. Thousands were rescued from rooftops, vehicles, and homes as Houston flooded.