Teen’s remains found over 3 years after he vanished in Montecito mudslide, mom says

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Aerial photos show the extent of the mudflow and damage in Montecito on Jan. 10, 2018, a day after slides and flooding hit. (Credit: Matt Udkow/Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Aerial photos show the extent of the mudflow and damage in Montecito on Jan. 10, 2018, a day after slides and flooding hit. (Credit: Matt Udkow/Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

The remains of a 17-year-old boy who went missing in a 2018 Montecito mudslide have been found, his mother said.

John “Jack” Cantin was found within 1,000 yards of the former family home that was destroyed by the slide, Kim Cantin told KEYT-TV, which reported the story on Thursday.

The remains were found around Memorial Day. But Cantin said the discovery wasn’t made public pending a lab analysis.

The exact location where her son’s remains were found is “ sacred ground” and won’t be revealed, Cantin told the station.

In a statement, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said it was reviewing a one-page report by a University of California, Santa Barbara anthropologist, Danielle Kurin, who examined the remains and said she was “over 90% certain” they are those of the missing teenager.

Coroner’s investigators are seeking Kurin’s full report and meanwhile, “the case of Jack Cantin’s disappearance remains open,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Twenty-three people died when a mudslide swept through Montecito in Santa Barbara County, a coastal area northwest of Los Angeles, on Jan. 9, 2018. During a heavy rain, mud, boulders, burned trees and debris from an earlier wildfire that had denuded mountainsides of vegetation washed downslope above the southern county community.

The remains of another victim, 2-year-old Lydia Suttithepa, still haven’t been recovered.

The mudslide destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and closed a 30-mile (50-kilometer) section of U.S. 101.

Cantin’s son and her husband, Dave, were among those killed. Cantin and her daughter, Lauren, were injured.

Dave Cantin’s body was found on the beach near the mouth of Montecito Creek the morning of the slide but years of searching by rescue crews and volunteers failed to find the body of Cantin’s son.

Cantin thanked them.

“It was the love of all the people, whoever they were, who helped along the way,” she said.

“The amazing thing is, I will have Jack to bury at the cemetery next to his father, with dignity, so that I can have closure,” Cantin said. “My family can have closure. Jack’s friends can have closure. And, the community can have closure. I know this community was amazing, and everyone was rooting and praying that we’d find these kids.”

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