Summer Raffo’s family knows she’s buried somewhere amid a milewide swamp of shattered homes and broken lives.
On Saturday, the 36-year-old Raffo was driving on Highway 530 from Darrington to a horseshoeing appointment in Ryan Falls east of Arlington at the time when a hillside broke free, inundating everything in its path. Raffo’s family hasn’t heard from her since.
Her relatives rushed to the scene and broke past barricades along with several other families desperate to find loved ones in the muck.
All they found was wreckage, mud and unmistakable signs of death.
“You can’t imagine the devastation until you see it yourself,” said Dayn Brunner, 42, Raffo’s brother. “There were bodies everywhere, cars cut in half.”
For more than five hours, Raffo’s brothers, nephews, sister and friends waded more than waist-deep into the thick, unstable mud.