Stephen A. Neal, 55, of Darrington; Bill Welsh, 66, of Arlington; Linda L. McPherson, 69, of Arlington; and Kaylee B. Spillers, 5, of Arlington have been identified as victims of the mudslide near Oso, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause of death for each was blunt impact, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.
Neal was a contractor who was doing plumbing work at Amanda Lennick’s house in the Steelhead Drive neighborhood at the time of the mudslide. He owned his plumbing business for about 30 years, said son, Ryan Neal, of Marysville. Lennick remains missing.
Ryan Neal described his father as someone always concerned about others.
“He was definitely out to help other people,” Ryan Neal said.
Welsh was an electrician who planned to meet Stephen Neal at Lennick’s house to install a water heater. The two were friends at Whitley Evergreen, where Welsh worked as the head of the electrical department and Neal sometimes worked as an independent contractor. Welsh, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, had worked for 25 years for the Marysville modular commercial-building manufacturer, said general manager Larry Dobrota.
“He was 66. He was ready to retire. I told him, ‘No, I won’t let you.’ He was a very good worker. He knew everything about this place,” Dobrota said.
McPherson’s death had previously been confirmed by family members. McPherson and her husband Gary “Mac” McPherson were reading the newspaper Saturday morning, separated only by a living-room end table, said daughter Kate McPherson. He was able to grab a stick and dig himself out of the mud.
Even if the dangers of the area were known, her daughter said, McPherson likely wouldn’t have moved to a different area.
“She loved the land,” Kate McPherson said. “That was her home. She was never going to leave.”
Kaylee’s father, Billy Spillers, 30, sister Brooke, 2, and brother Jovon Mangual, 13, are missing. Her brother Jacob, 4, was rescued from the mud. Billy Spillers and the children were watching television when the mudslide hit. Her mother, Jonielle Spillers, wasn’t home at the time. The family moved to the Oso area from Seattle about two years ago.