(LATIMES) March 27,2014 – Natasha Huestis had very sad news to share: The rescuers had just found the body of her 4-month-old daughter, Sanoah, out in the mudslide.
Earlier this week, rescuers had found the remains of Sanoah’s grandmother — and Huestis’ mother — Christina Jefferds, 45.
The pair had been 10 feet away from each other.
They were together until the end, and for that, Natasha Huestis is grateful.
“It’s an absolute relief,” Huestis, 26, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview on Thursday, after she got news that the two had been found. “Now we can move on to the next part.”
“We found my mom, and we found baby Sanoah.”
For almost a week, Huestis and her father, Seth Jefferds, had already been in mourning and wondered whether rescuers would ever find the pair. They all lived together along the Stillaguamish River; Huestis and her dad had gone to town and left baby Sanoah with Christina Jefferds.
That’s when the mudslide hit, sweeping through the community of about 50 homes and killing at least 16 people.
The slide has been so immense and treacherous that even some rescuers were worried whether they might ever find all the victims. Ninety people remain missing, according to officials’ latest tally.
Huestis said she got word from her dad that Sanoah’s remains had been found, along with some of their scattered personal belongings — but there was nothing left of their home.
“It was like somebody put a stick of dynamite in there,” Huestis, a single mom, said.
Far from being tearful, Huestis was composed and said she was thankful for everyone’s thoughts.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really sad, tragic event — but I’m so happy that my mom and my daughter have each other, and they’re in a good place,” Huestis said. She added of Sanoah, “I got to hold her, and all I could do is smile, because I was so happy to have her and to hold her.”
Of her mom, Huestis said: “My mom was super sweet, and so incredibly kind, and gentle-hearted. She just wanted love; she wanted happiness. She had an adventurous side, and some things she tried before she passed away were skydiving, indoor skydiving, and flying trapeze.”
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