Identifying Victims of Orland Bus Crash Will Take Time

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The first family arrived at 7:30 the morning after the crash, looking for answers on what happened to their loved ones in the fiery collision on Interstate 5 between a FedEx truck and a tour bus full of high school students.

El Monte High School students light candles in front of the school at a memorial to Adrian Castro, a senior at the school killed April 10, 2014 in a bus crash. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

It was up to Larry Jones, a 40-year law enforcement veteran getting ready to retire at year’s end after 10 years as sheriff of Glenn County, to sit them down and tell them: the process will take time and patience.

“Of course they asked the question ‘Why’ — and we had to explain to them that [the victims] have been burned beyond recognition,” Jones said Saturday. “It’s very emotional. They’re starting to realize their loved one is deceased and that we can’t be 100% certain.”

One anguished family could not comprehend what he meant by “burned beyond recognition” and asked to see the remains. Jones had to tell them no.

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