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Names of the Montecito mudslide victims who perished in the devastation are starting to become known, and they include a Catholic school founder, who was remembered as a man who lived a life of faith. Roy Rohter was the first victim identified.
The death toll from the California mudslides has now risen to 15 people, and many people have been reported missing by loved ones. They include Sawyer and Morgan Corey, young relatives who were in a home that was swept away as they slept. More people still need rescuing as workers dig through the debris to reach them. The mudslides struck an area already ravaged by wildfires, sweeping away homes. Authorities have not yet formally released a list of those who died or are missing.
“Fifteen people were confirmed dead and two dozen people remained missing” on January 10, 2018, reported ABC News. The devastation was caused by flash flooding on hillsides already ravaded by wildfires. “The mud was unleashed in the dead of night by flash flooding in the steep Santa Ynez Mountains, where hillsides were stripped of vegetation last month by the biggest wildfire on record in California,” reported ABC.
Here’s a round-up of the people whose deaths have been confirmed thus far. This post will be updated as more deaths are confirmed.
A local religious leader, Roy Rohter, was one of the first victims whose death was confirmed. According to The Ventura Star, Rohter “founded St. Augustine Academy in Ventura” and “died when a mudslide Tuesday morning in Montecito swept him from his home.”
His tragic death was confirmed from officials at St. Augustine academy, and his wife, Theresa, was rescued and “remains in stable condition,” the Star reported. The school’s headmaster, Michael Van Hecke, described Rohter to ABC7 “as a man dedicated to his faith and to helping others.”
“Roy’s life has been in service to his good, loving and ever-forgiving God,” Hecke said to the television station. “He has done so much for so many people and pro-life and Catholic education causes. … Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters’ friendship and generosity.”
On Facebook, St. Augustine wrote of Rohter: “Please pray for the repose of the soul of our founder, Roy Rohter – a giant gift to the Catholic Church and all things true, good and beautiful. Pray also for his wife, Theresa, the gentle giant of Charity and grace, and for his children and grandchildren. Thank you.”
Rohter’s grandson posted a tribute on Facebook, writing, “Please pray for the repose of the soul of my grandfather Roy Rohter. He lived like no one else and left an incredible legacy of love and generosity that I am a part of.” Wrote a friend, “I am praying for the repose of his soul and saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet in his honor and memory.”
This post will be updated as more victims’ identities become known. You can read about the two missing girls here: