Landslide leaves young sisters with only each other



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Posted on April 22, 2014 at 10:51 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 26 at 7:06 PM

Relatives of JBLM Soldier Chris Dombroski said their final goodbyes to him this week, in his Alaska hometown. Chris' suicide marked another tragic twist for a family who's already lost so much in the Oso landslide.

Earlier this week, the bodies of Steve and Theresa Harris were found buried in debris at the site of the landslide.  On Tuesday, their daughters were among the families who met with President Obama during his visit to Oso.

Laura and Kristina Harris brought with them a gift to give the President.  It was a DVD Kristina made, that contains the entire family photo album.  She wanted to give the President a glimpse at what was lost on the morning of March 22nd, 2014.

"We were hoping then that it was just a minor slide," said Kristina.

The sisters quickly learned that was not the case.  Once they saw the devastation in Oso for themselves, they began to come to terms with the fact that their parents could not have survived.

Steve and Theresa Harris were among the last to be found.  Their daughters got the call on Easter morning that their bodies had been recovered.

By that time, their family was already dealing with another tragedy.

The girls' cousin, 20-year-old Chris Dombrowski, had joined the search to help find his aunt and uncle.  Not long after he left Oso, the JBLM soldier took his own life.

"I was just a shame that he had to deal with his pain the way that he did," said Kristina.

Laura said Chris brought her to Oso in the days after the slide, and helped hold the family together.

"No one saw his pain, he just was strong," said Laura.  "I think he felt like if he showed weakness it would affect us, so he felt like he had to hold it in."

The girls had planned to bring Chris with them when they met President Obama during his visit to the site of the landslide.  Instead, the girls met with the President on their own.

"It's just so surreal to have him come out, and that just shows how much of an impact this had on our country, and how people are coming together," said Laura.

The girls said the President met with the relatives of the landslide victims as a group and then briefly, one-on-one.

They're planning a memorial service for Steve and Theresa, to be held in the Texas town where the couple grew up, met, and fell in love.