A resident from Montecito, California, desperately searched for his mother on Wednesday, Jan. 10, only to learn that she had tragically passed away.
Hayden Gower returned to his home, hoping that his 69-year-old mother, Josie Gower, would still be alive. But instead, he found the house half destroyed with a tree through the garage and no trace of his mother, according to KSBY.
“I told her to stay on the second floor but she went downstairs and opened the door and just got swept away,” Hayden told the NBC affiliate.
— KSBY (@KSBY) January 11, 2018
His mother went missing on Tuesday after the massive mudslide swept through her area.
Hayden searched frantically for his mother, trekking through the debris and looking for clues. According to ABC News, the home’s garage was completely destroyed, surrounded by knee-deep mud, and the cars were swept away as well.
“Why didn’t she stay upstairs?” Hayden told ABC News. “Why did she go downstairs?”
The last person who saw Josie was her boyfriend, who managed to get rescued by first responders.
“Last time he saw her was holding onto the door,” Hayden told KSBY. “I should have just told her to leave. You just don’t even think that this is possible.”
According to ABC News at least 17 people were killed by the mudslides this week.
On Wednesday night, Josie’s son-in-law confirmed that her body was found near Highway 101.
As news spread of Josie’s passing, tributes flooded in on Hayden’s Facebook page.