Local family affected by Washington mudslide
Following news of a tragic mudslide last week near Oso, Wash., New Albany resident Edith Spillers, known as EB, traveled to the scene to help search for her son, Billy Spiller, and three of his children, who are still missing, according to EB's cousin and Bradford County resident Jim Kobbe.
According to the Associated Press, Billy's wife, Jonielle Spillers was at her job as a nursing assistant when the mudslide swept through the area, which possibly saved her life.
Since the tragedy, one of EB's grandchildren, Jacob Spiller, 4, was rescued by helicopter after being found partially sunken in mud near the location of his home, the AP reported.
As of Friday, the official death toll of the tragedy remained at 17 people, with 90 still declared missing, according to the AP.
Kobbe said he hasn't been able to talk to Edith since the mudslide happened.
"She had been out in Washington visiting her family and was on her way back and was in Ohio when she got a call about what happened," Kobbe said.
"She got on a plane in Ohio to go back to Washington and she is still there now helping with the rescue," he said.
Kobbe said when he heard the bad news about his extended family, his heart sunk.
"It's an awful, awful feeling. I've had it on my mind all the time since and it makes you wonder," he said.
Kobbe never met 4-year-old Jacob Spillers, who is his third cousin, because the family has been living in Washington for a while, he noted.
A web page has been set up to collect donations for Jonielle Spillers on the free online fundraising website www.youcaring.com.
By Friday, the donation drive had pushed through its $25,000 goal with $31,165 in donations and is now aiming to raise $50,000. Between Thursday and Friday, approximately $10,000 was received in donations.
Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Twitter, @TimZyla.