Oso firefighter's family shares their story of loss

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 6:46 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 10:56 PM

An Oso firefighter and his step-daughter are still processing the overwhelming loss they suffered in Saturday’s landslide.

Christina Jefferds, 45, was babysitting her four-month-old granddaughter, Sanoah, when it happened. 

Christina's body was found on Sunday. Sanoah is still missing.

The landslide lasted just three seconds. In that time, firefighter Seth Jefferds lost his wife and grandchild.  His step-daughter, Natasha Huestis, lost her mom and her baby.

"Sanoah's name is Hawaiian.  My mom, she came up with Sanoah's middle name, Violet," said Natasha.  "Sanoah Violet.  Her name means mist in the mountains.  And you know, she's in the mountains right now."

Natasha and Seth have spent hours digging through the debris, searching for the infant. They say they will not stop looking until they find Sanoah.

"We are halfway there. Finding my mom was the halfway point," said Natasha.

Seth said what is left of their home is sitting on 10-to-12 feet of mud.  They have been able to salvage a few items, including some precious family pictures.

"It's just devastating," he said.  "Just pick up your life and start over. How you do that?  You know, we've never done it before.  We're going to miss them the rest of our lives."

Seth and Natasha were both in Arlington when the slide occurred.  The moment they heard it had happened on Steelhead Drive, they knew their loved ones were in trouble.

Their only comfort right now is that Christina and Sanoah are together.

"We're holding in our heart that they're happy together. What else can you do? My mom couldn't have asked for anything more. She loved that baby, loved that baby so much," said Natasha.

The family spent the entire day together on Friday, the day before the landslide.  It's a memory Seth and Natasha are now grateful for.  Natasha says she thanked her mother Friday evening for all of the support she's provided in helping Natasha raise Sanoah.

"I told her, I go, I couldn't do this without you," she said. "I told her, you mean the world and I couldn't do this without you.  And I'm so glad I had that chance to tell her I love her and that she meant so much, because a lot of people didn't get that."

The family also wants to thank first responders who are working so hard at the site of the slide, along with anyone who has donated food, clothing, or provided a helping hand.

"If we have looked in your eyes, if you've walked past us, smiled at us, held our hand, given us a hug, if you have thought about us, we thank you.  We absolutely thank you from the bottom of our heart. It's unforgettable," said Natasha.

They say the community support is what's keeping them going.

Funeral arrangements for Christina Jefferds have not been set. The family wants to wait until they find Sanoah, so grandmother and granddaughter can be buried together.

A fund has been set up to help the family.  Donations can be made at any Key Bank for the Jefferds/Huestis fund.

Natasha and Seth are staying with relatives in Arlington.

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