Deadly California slide swept mother, daughter to deaths


A young mother asleep with her 3-year-old daughter as her 10-year-old nephew slumbered nearby were among the 18 people killed in a devastating mudslide that brought tragedy and sorrow to the small, wealthy California enclave of Montecito.

Other victims included a 22-year-old woman who died in the arms of her brother as he frantically tried to save her after their father was swept to his death by the fast-moving river of mud.

Here are their stories and those of others in a community where victims ranged from captains of industry to the people who manicure their lawns.

Marilyn Ramos was asleep in bed with her 3-year-old daughter, Kaelly Benitez, when the deadly mudslide came crashing through their Montecito rental home, carrying both to their deaths.

Also killed was Kaelly’s 10-year-old cousin, Jonathan Benitez, who was asleep nearby.

Marilyn’s husband, Antonio Benitez, was injured, as was his brother, Victor, who is Jonathan’s father. Victor’s 2-year-old son survived, but his wife, Fabiola, was still missing Friday.

The brothers, immigrants from Mexico, owned a gardening and landscaping business in Montecito. Marilyn was a stay-at-home mom.



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