Death toll rises in wake of mudslides

(NBC News) At least 17 people are now confirmed dead in the wake of Tuesday’s deadly California mudslides. Eight more remain missing, and authorities are warning the death toll could continue to rise.

Hayden Gower is still searching for his mother.

“I don’t know how far she could have been swept, I don’t know. I don’t know where she is,” he said Wednesday.

Many of the missing are older retirees and young children who didn’t have the strength to stand up to the mud as it swept through their neighborhood.

Among the missing are the brother and father of 14-year old Lauren Cantin, whose rescue made headlines around the world.

While the focus Thursday will remain on search and rescue efforts, the effects of this mudslide will last long beyond this week. Highway 101 will remain shut down through the upcoming holiday weekend, and officials say 1500 homes are still threatened by the rain-soaked hills.

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