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Community To Hold Vigil For Canonsburg Native Missing In Washington Mudslide

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Photo Credit: Dayn Brunner

Photo Credit: Dayn Brunner

Ralph Iannotti Ralph Iannotti
Ralph Iannotti began working as a KDKA-TV general assignment reporter...
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CANONSBURG (KDKA) — The search continues for a Canonsburg native missing in the huge mudslide in Washington State.

Billy Spillers hasn’t been seen since the slide wiped out his home last weekend. He and his four children were home at the time.

On Friday, the medical examiner identified the body of his daughter, 5-year-old Kaylee B. Spillers.

Two of his other children — 13-year-old Jovon Mangual and 2-year-old Brooke Spillers — are still missing. His wife Jonielle wasn’t home at the time.

Billy Spillers was a 2001 graduate of Chartiers-Houston High School.

He left the area shortly after graduation to pursue a career in the Navy, and was working as a chief petty officer at the naval station in Everett, Wash.

He still has many friends here who remember him fondly.

“We’re praying that the Lord will help us, someone will get in touch and they’ve found him,” said Dorothy Moore, a family friend. “We’re praying. He was number 73 in Chartiers High School… and he’s a wonderful young man.”

Tonight, the community is holding a vigil in Spillers’ honor at Chartiers-Houston High School. They say they’re not giving up hope that he and his two remaining children will be found alive.

Last Saturday, Spiller’s 4-year-old son Jacob was rescued from the rubble.

He was upstairs when the mudslide slammed into the home.

Authorities think his location in the house may have saved his life. Ed Hrivnak, one of the firefighters who rescued Jacob, was also from the Pittsburgh area.

Rescue crews and volunteers are working hard to find survivors.

“As far as I’m concerned, we’re still in rescue mode. I haven’t lost hope yet and there’s a lot of people up there that haven’t lost hope yet,” says Chief Travis Hots, of the Snohomish County Fire Department.

But workers are exhausted, and facing dangerous conditions. No survivors have been found in days, and officials expect the death toll to rise sharply as they continue to sift through the rubble.

While the chances of finding survivors are growing slim, rescue workers say they’re not giving up hope.

“We can’t lose hope for anybody in this community. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to find those people,” said firefighter Eric Finzimer.

RELATED LINKS:
Local Man Among Missing In Wash. State Mudslide, Death Toll Rises To 14 (3/24/14)
More Reports by Ralph Iannotti

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