Body of Montecito woman found, brings mudslide death toll to 21


Gubbins says officials should know by Saturday whether they can meet their goal of a Monday reopening.

The most recently recovered victim of the mudslides is a 28-year-old woman named Faviola Benitez Calderon, whose body was discovered by a search dog on Saturday morning, officials said.

California officials announced the reopening of Highway 101 on Sunday almost two weeks after mudslides killed at least 21 people and destroyed almost 130 homes in Montecito.

During the US 101 shut down, Amtrak added additional cars to its route between Santa Barbara and points east as travelers increasingly relied on rail service to get around the closure. There are now 21 confirmed fatalities related to the January 9 storm and subsequent debris flow. They are 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa and 17-year-old Jack Cantin. Workers are now clearing drainage areas, stabilizing embankments and working on guardrail and sign repairs.

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This month's mudslides have injuring dozens and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes in the coastal town of Montecito, an unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County, about 93 miles north of Los Angeles along the Pacific coast.

Twenty people are dead and three remain missing since a January 9 storm dumped rain on the burn scar of December's Thomas wildfire above Montecito, unleashing flows that destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes.

Mud had pooled deeply under the Olive Mill Road overpass in Montecito, requiring a 24/7 effort to clear the roadway.