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Rescue workers search the muck and debris left by the Oso mudslide along State Route 530 in Washington on March 29, 2014. / Joshua Trujillo, AP

Authorities said Monday that they believe 22 people are still missing in the enormous mudslide that has killed at least 24 people north of Seattle.

Searchers found more bodies as they worked through muck and devastation Monday in what was once the community of Oso, Wash.

Snohomish County Executive Director Gary Haakenson said the remains of three additional victims were found but have not yet been included in the medical examiner's official death count of 24. That official count has lagged reports from searchers hunting for remains at the scene.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said it has positively identified 18 of the 24 victims in the official death toll.

The number of missing people was officially trimmed to 22, down from 30 on Sunday.

Weather forecasts also took a turn for the better. Dry, partly sunny skies are predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The grind of the sad search was wearing on those involved. Cathy Hagen, who manages a community center, told The Herald of Everett, Wash., that she only recently had her first real break since the slide hit.

She did laundry and lay down for a couple of hours. And she finally cried."I was late anyway, but I pulled up to the slide, and couldn't believe what I was seeing," Durant said.

"When I woke up, that's when" the tears came, she said. She thought of the people caught in a roaring wall of mud debris. And she thought of the people spared by a few feet from the flow.

Angela Durant was one of those barely spared. She told King5 News she was delayed heading out her door to work that day. So instead of being a victim of the horrifying mudslide, Durant was the first person to alert emergency officials.

Durant snapped photos on the east side of the slide, where mud and debris over Highway 530 had forced her to stop. She was the first to call 911:

911: 911, what is your emergency?

Durant: Hi I'm in Snohomish County, I'm on 530, and there's a creek and [inaudible] has washed out 530. There's a roof of a house on 530.

Durant, like so many other residents of tiny Darrington, had a job on the Arlington side of the slide. She's now looking for work closer to her home.

"I got a text message from a lady that said she needed a caregiver, and she's up in Concrete, so I have to remember to call her," Durant said.

In the meantime, the single mother of two told King5 TV in Seattle, she is volunteering and doing whatever she can to help.

Some of her friends are among the missing, but she said she stays strong thanks to the small acts of kindness she and others experience every day. One woman was unrelenting in her efforts to ease Durant's pain.

"She drug me over to her purse, pulled out all the money in her wallet, and gave it to me," she said.

Contributing: Marco della Cava in San Francisco; William M. Welch in Los Angeles; KING5 TV in Seattle; The Associated Press






Copyright 2014USA TODAY

Read the original story: 22 still missing in Wash. mudslide

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