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Originally published April 3, 2014 at 8:36 PM | Page modified April 3, 2014 at 9:36 PM

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2 names, including ‘John Doe,’ added to list of missing

Two more names were added Thursday to the list of those missing and presumed killed by the deadly March 22 mudslide, bringing the total to 17.


Seattle Times assistant metro editor

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ARLINGTON — Two more names were added Thursday to the list of those missing and presumed killed by the deadly March 22 mudslide, including a man known only as John Doe.

The list now totals 17 names, including that of Victor W. Ford, 44, of Arlington, also added Thursday by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Attempts to reach Ford’s relatives were unsuccessful.

The death toll from the slide is at 30, with 27 of those victims identified, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Among the unidentified remains are those of a man whose identity may never be determined, authorities said.

All that is known of the man is that he has extensive dental work with gold fillings.

His remains do not fit the description of anyone on the missing-persons list, authorities said.

Without possible family members to compare, DNA tests are useless in making an identification.

It wasn’t immediately known if this set of remains is connected to the John Doe added to the list of missing.

Officials refused to discuss the remains during a media briefing Thursday evening in Arlington. The Sheriff’s Office says John Doe is between 50 and 60 years of age; his address is unknown, making it possible he may have been driving on state Highway 530 when the mudslide swept through the area.

Among those expected to join the search Friday are an 80-member Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urban search team and 20 cadaver dogs to augment dogs already on site, officials said during the briefing.

Earlier Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee expressed appreciation for President Obama’s decision to declare the Oso-area mudslide a major disaster, clearing the way for federal assistance to pay for temporary housing, home repairs, the replacement of household items and unemployment benefits.

In a brief meeting with the media in Arlington, Inslee said, “Having said we’re very pleased about this federal declaration, it is important for people to realize that this does not, unfortunately, allow people to be whole. The federal designation is helpful, but it is not going to replace everything that these families have lost.”

“This is helpful,” Inslee added, “but we’re still going to have a lot of holes in the fabric of this community that we all are going to need to pull together on to solve and we’ll be very active in that.”

The declaration also means low-cost loans of up to $200,000 from the Small Business Administration will be available for primary residences, and $40,000 for lost personal property. Small businesses can qualify for up to $2 million in loans.

FEMA also will provide counseling, help with income taxes and legal advice.

Those needing help can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has offered help for residents who lost their homes in the mudslide, including a 90-day moratorium on any foreclosures.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan also gave Washington state the option to redirect its share of the federal Community Development Block Grant for disaster relief. The state could decide, for instance, to help write off mortgages on some three dozen homes that were wiped out by the mudslide.

The 90-day moratorium on foreclosures started Wednesday with President Obama’s declaration of major disaster for Snohomish County. The reprieve applies to homeowners whose mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. In the Seattle area, the FHA insures mortgages for single-family homes up to $506,000.

The FHA also will insure zero-down mortgages for victims seeking to buy new homes.

John de Leon: 206-464-2073 or jdeleon@seattletimes.com



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