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.