Search crews have pulled the body of 17-year-old Rachel Webber from the debris of a massive landslide in Johnsons Landing, not far from where her father and older sister were recovered last week.
The bodies of Valentine Webber, 60, and Diana Webber, 22, were located in the days after the July 12 landslide. Search crews found Rachel Webber around 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
After speaking with the victims’ friends, and other members of the family, the search team determined the Webbers were likely having breakfast on their front porch when the slide started, said Lisa Lapointe, B.C.’s chief coroner, on Thursday.
“We have advised [Rachel Webber’s] mother; she is obviously very relieved,” she said.
“We’re very pleased that we were able to recover the remains of Rachel and bring some comfort to her mother, and the community, following this tragic event.”
The Webber sisters were active, outdoor types: They enjoyed rowing on, and diving into, the pristine waters of Kootenay Lake, where their father owned a home. Before reuniting in B.C., Diana briefly lived in Los Angeles and Rachel in Florida, where their mother currently resides. Diana travelled frequently, recently venturing through Europe and the Middle East. Both girls loved Bob Dylan.
Recovery efforts at the site, in southeastern British Columbia, have now concluded, Ms. Lapointe said.
There is no reasonable likelihood of locating a fourth victim, 64-year-old German national Petra Frehse, Ms. Lapointe said.
“The impact of the slide in that area was devastating,” she said. “We excavated a very large area last week around where that house had been and had determined there is no meaningful chance of recovery at that site.”
Searchers had dug a trench up to seven metres deep, 10 metres wide and 20 metres long and found some artifacts of the home, including a metal roof and small pieces of household items, Ms. Lapointe said. However, there was “nothing substantial.”
“The catastrophic effect of the slide in that area has made it extremely unlikely that we would ever recover Ms. Frehse’s remains, and I’m very sorry that we weren’t able to do that for the Frehse family,” she said. “Where that house was located in the slide field just made it impossible.”
Ruth Thomson, who owns a gift shop in nearby Kaslo, remembers Ms. Frehse as a thoughtful and kind woman. Ms. Thomson carried Ms. Frehse’s line of hand-crafted spirit bears.
“They were made with just great attention to detail, using real leather and Schulte mohair and glass eyes,” she said. “I have one left here. It’s on my list to try and get a hold of her family and return it to them.”
According to a certificate created by Ms. Frehse, the bear was crafted on July 12, 2007 – exactly five years before the slide.
The landslide came after a month of heavy rain, sending a torrent of mud, rocks and trees down the hillside. At the height of recovery efforts, 114 people from 22 different agencies participated in the search.