Missing 12-year-Old Confirmed Dead Alongside 3 Other Children as Authorities Name Mudslide Victims
The Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office has confirmed the names of 17 people who died in the Jan. 9 Montecito mudslide that devastated homes and separated families.
The youngest victim, Kailly Benitez, is just 3-years-old. She was one of four children confirmed dead.
Sawyer Corey – whose family had made an impassioned plea for help to try to find her on Wednesday – was also confirmed one of the people who died. The 12-year-old was previously reported missing, along with her sister, Morgan Corey, 25. Morgan has still not been found.
The Corey family was sleeping in their Montecito home when mud swept through the area and collapsed their home around them early Tuesday morning.
Sawyer's twin sister, Summer, and their mother, Carie Baker, were found and are recovering at a local hospital, Baker's nephew, Logan Kessler, told PEOPLE on Wednesday.
"It doesn't even seem real. It's been a blur," he said of the tragedy. "[I felt] scared, helpless and pain for those girls. I couldn't sleep last night, knowing they were still alone."
In addition to Sawyer and 3-year-old Kailly, Jonathan Benitez, 10, and Peerawat Suthhithepn, 6, lost their lives. Members of the children's family also remain missing.
Also named amongst the dead was Martin Cabrera-Munoz, 48.. His family has created a GoFundMe page for donations that will go toward his funeral service.
Authorities also named David Cantin, 49; Peter Fleurat, 73; Josephine Gower, 69; John McManigal, 61; Alice Mitchell, 78; James Mitchell, 89; Mark Montgomery, 22; Marilyn Ramos, 27; Rebecca Riskin, 61; Roy Rohter, 84 and Richard Taylor, 67, as those killed.
The cause of death for all 17 will be listed as "multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides due to recent wildfire," according to the coroner's office.
"The only words I can really think of to describe what it looked [like] was it looked like a World War I battlefield," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said of the area, which is known for its beautiful homes and celebrity residents. "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere."
Authorities believe as many as 43 people are missing.
The tragedy comes just one month after a series of fast-spreading wildfires wreaked havoc on the region.