Quilcene woman learns of fourth loved one's death in Oso mudslide

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

QUILCENE — The Oso mudslide has left a gaping hole in Tamara Lenzen's family.

The Quilcene-area resident learned Wednesday that the wall of mud that consumed a portion of the tiny town northeast of Seattle the morning of March 22 also took the life of her grandniece, Delaney Webb, 19.

Searchers confirmed her death, as they had earlier the deaths of her brother, Thom Satterlee, 65; Satterlee's wife, Marcy, 61; and Webb's fiance, Alan Bejvl, 21.

All were at the Satterlees' home when a rain-soaked hill came sliding down on the neighborhood.

A memorial service in Everett planned for Sunday is expected to draw more than 200 family members, said Lenzen, 55.

Lenzen's mother was the youngest of 17 children, and Lenzen's aunt has 56 grandchildren, she said.

“It's a big family,” Lenzen said. “We have all been falling apart.

“You can't help but fall apart.”

Devastated family

She said her family has been devastated.

“Right now, we are all numb, we are just numb, because we really don't know what to think anymore.

“We are just trying to deal with this the best we know how.”

Officials have so far confirmed the deaths of 29 people. Of those, the identity of only one remains a mystery, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said, although the names of only 22 had been released by Wednesday.

Medical examiners have worked with detectives to match human remains with missing people, The Associated Press reported.

Spokesman Ed Troyer said all but one man has been identified. The victim doesn't match reports of those listed as missing.

Teams with cadaver dogs are still sifting through debris and soil to determine exactly how many people died.

Officials said Wednesday that 18 people are missing.

Missing

Among them is Bothell electrician Ron deQuilletes, 52, whose father-in-law, Omer Vigoren, is the pastor at Bethany Pentecostal Church in Port Angeles.

DeQuilletes was working on a house in the mudslide's path.

“He's still buried there somewhere,” Vigoren, 78, said Wednesday.

“We are hoping one day, someday, we can get news about finding his body.”

DeQuilletes is survived by his wife, La Rae, 51, a Class of 1980 Port Angeles High School graduate, and three grown children and a teenage girl: daughters Ashlee, 29, and Allyn 27; a son, Arie, 23; and Audra, 16.

The Satterlees are survived by two grown children who did not live in Oso: Nichole, 39, and Andrea, 35.

The mudslide partially dammed up the north fork of the Stillaguamish River. Now, where there was a state highway, there is a bed of mud and debris as much as 80 feet deep in some spots.

Property owners who lost their houses in the Oso mudslide probably still owe payments on their home loans, according to Lyn Peters of the state Department of Financial Institutions, who said mortgages are legally binding contracts, even if the homes are gone.

The state is advising survivors or their heirs to call their banks to work something out.

Gov. Jay Inslee said the slide caused about $10 million in damage.

He estimated costs of $32.1 million for search-and-recovery efforts and to remove all the debris, adding that costs could run higher.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.



The Associated Press contributed to the report.

Last modified: April 03. 2014 12:14PM
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