Teen rescued from mudslides that killed real estate agent

  • A structure, damaged from mudslides, sits slammed against a tree in Montecito, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • Large rocks and mud are shown in front of a house in Montecito, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. Hundreds of rescue workers slogged through knee-deep ooze and used long poles to probe for bodies Thursday as the search dragged on for victims of the mudslides that slammed this wealthy coastal town. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, firefighters successfully rescue a 14-year-old girl, right, after she was trapped for hours inside a destroyed home in Montecito, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Dozens of homes were swept away or heavily damaged and several people were killed Tuesday as downpours sent mud and boulders roaring down hills stripped of vegetation by a gigantic wildfire that raged in Southern California last month. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

  • This undated photo provided by Gina Conte, shows Rebecca Riskin. Riskin, the founder of Riskin Partners, was among those killed in this week’s deadly Montecito, Calif., mudslides. Her company confirmed her death in a statement posted Wednesday night, Jan. 10, 2018, on Facebook. (Gina Conte via AP)

  • This frame from video provided by NBC News shows the rescue of a 14-year-old girl from the wreckage of a home after heavy rains trapped dozens of people in Montecito, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. The girl’s name was not immediately available. Several homes were swept away before dawn Tuesday when mud and debris roared into neighborhoods in Montecito from hillsides stripped of vegetation during the Thomas wildfire. (NBC News via AP)

MONTECITO, Calif. — One of the victims of the deadly mudslides in California is a teenager who was pulled covered in mud from a collapsed house where she was trapped for hours.

Another, who lost her life at her home, was a ballerina turned real estate agent known in Montecito, an enclave for the wealthy and famous, as “The First Lady of Luxury Real Estate.”

Still other victims remained missing Thursday after a drenching storm unleashed mudslides down wildfire-scarred hillsides, killing at least 17 people.

Here are some of their stories:


Lauren Cantin, 14, became the face of survival when rescuers pulled the dazed, mud-covered girl from her flattened home in Montecito earlier this week. Family friends who launched a fundraising page say her father and older brother are still missing.

NeoTract, a maker of devices used in the medical field of urology, launched the page Wednesday, asking for financial support for the family of Cantin’s mother, Kim, a marketing executive for the company.

In its first hours, it surpassed its goal of $20,000. The posting said Lauren’s father, Dave, and 16-year-old brother, Jack, remained missing.

It took firefighters hours to dig Lauren out of the mud that destroyed her home.

“I thought I was dead for a minute,” the girl told them before an ambulance took her away.


Rebecca Riskin was the picture of success and health before she was killed in the disaster, according to friends and colleagues who confirmed her death Thursday.

Colleagues at her firm, Riskin Partners, credited the former ballerina with having closed more than $2 billion in high-end real estate sales since founding the company that bears her name in the early 1990s.

“She’s leaving a huge void. She was exceptional,” said Gina Conte, who described Riskin as her best friend, mentor and confidante.

Conte said the 61-year-old, who was the maid of honor at her wedding, took joy in pairing the perfect home with the perfect family and loved cooking, going for long walks and spending movie nights with her family.

Riskin was swept away after a mudslide tore through her living room, Conte said, adding that her husband survived because he was in bed in a part of the house that stayed intact. Her body was found Wednesday near a highway.

Riskin’s firm described her as the picture of strength, grace and elegance, adding, “her loss is incredibly devastating to her friends, family and our community.”

Company spokeswoman Erin Lammers said Riskin was a ballerina with the American Ballet Theater in New York before an injury cut short her dancing career. She returned to her hometown of Los Angeles in 1979, where she began selling high-end real estate on the city’s west side. She moved to Montecito in the early 1990s.

Riskin is survived by her husband, two grown children and a grandson.


Rogers reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writer Amanda Lee Myers contributed to this story from Los Angeles.


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