3rd body recovered in Logan mudslide

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LOGAN -- Rescue crews have recovered all three bodies from a Logan home buried by a mudslide over the weekend.

Just after 7:30 p.m., officials announced they found the body of the third and final victim, 13-year-old Victor Alanis. The discovery followed four days of exhaustive and dangerous searching.

The searchers showed up day after day, prepared for risky work against an unstable mountain, and Tuesday night we were finally able to hear what the area was like in first few moments following the landslide.

Caller 1: "Hi, I was just running on a trail by the canal, pretty close to the university, and I ran across it and the whole trail collapsed."

In the initial 911 calls, surprise quickly turns to concern as people report seeing a home knocked off its foundation by a mudslide.

Caller 2: "Was anybody in there? There might be somebody."
911 operator: "There might be somebody in there?"
Caller 2:
911 operator: "OK, we've got somebody on the way."

Dispatchers requested all available units to handle a growing list of emergencies.

"We've got a canal that has broken. We've got power lines down. I've got a natural gas line broken; and as far as victims, I don't know yet," one dispatcher said.

Shortly after, emergency responders would learn about three victims: 39-year-old Jacqueline Leavey, her 13-year-old son Victor Alanis and 12-year-old daughter Abbey Alanis. All were inside a home demolished by the slide.

On Tuesday, news cameras were allowed to visit what was once their home. Now it's just a pile of rubble and mud.

Crews removed debris by hand 6 inches at a time, bringing dogs in to go over the newly-uncovered ground. It was a slow and painstaking process.

"When you pull part of the house out that's buried in the mud, you risk bringing the rest of the mountain down on top of us," one firefighter said.

Then at 5:30 p.m., the bodies of Jacqueline Leavey and Abbey Alanis were found.

"It is with mixed feeling that I find it my duty to report that we have, this afternoon, recovered the body of Jacqueline Leavey, the mother, and her daughter Abbey Alanis," Mayor Randy Watts said.

The body of Victor Alanis was discovered an hour and a half later.

"My mixed emotions are the result of gratitude that our workers were able to bring partial closure for the family, but that gratitude is certainly tempered by the pain we all feel for this family's loss," Watts said.

The news was met with mixed emotions: gratitude the family has closure, extreme sadness over what has happened. They issued the following statement Tuesday night:

"We want to express our relief and gratitude now that the search effort has come to a conclusion. Police and fire Deparments and rescue teams have all done a wonderful job. We must praise their excellence and expediency. "We grieve for our beloved ones, but our faith in God is helping us cope. We are asking all of you to respect our privacy and our grief.

"There will no more statements from us. May God bless all of you."

The mission now is cleanup. Officials have no timeframe on how long that might take but say they'll be back at the site Wednesday morning ready to work. They'll also hold a press conference at noon with the latest on their efforts.


Story compiled with contributions from Sarah Dallof, Nicole Gonzales and Randall Jeppesen.


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