California mudslide victims are the founder of the Catholic school, the first lady of luxury real estate



Mudslides in Southern California: See the devastating images

The Winter storm in the South of California to cause deadly mudslides. Take a look at some of the latest images of the destruction.

The founder of a Catholic school and a woman known as the “first lady” of luxury real estate were among those killed when a powerful mudslide tore through a wealthy seaside enclave in Southern California.

Hundreds of users continue digging through the knee-deep mud Thursday searching for survivors, as almost 50 people are reported missing, and the names of the 17 killed began to drip.

Roy Rohter, 84, died early Tuesday when he was swept from his Montecito home together with his wife, according to a statement from Saint Augustine’s Academy, which he founded in Ventura in 1994.

Roy Rohter, who founded St. Augustine Academy, died when a mudslide in Montecito swept him from his home.

(Saint Augustine Academy )

“Roy Rohter was a man of great faith and a great friend of Catholic education,” Michael F. McLean, president of the college, said in a statement on the school’s website Wednesday.

Rohter’s wife, Theresa, was rescued from the flow of mud, rocks and other debris and was in stable condition, the Academy said.

Roy Rohter, right, and his wife Theresa wiped out from their home in Montecito in the beginning of the Tuesday.

(Saint Augustine Academy)

Michael Van Hecke, the school, the director, said in a statement that Rohter lived his life in service to his good, loving and ever-forgiving God.”

“He has done so much for so many people and pro-life and Catholic education causes. Thousands are blessed by the Rohters’ friendship and generosity,” he said.


A woman known as the “first lady of luxury real estate” was killed when the mudslide struck the town of 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles, which is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.

Rebecca Riskin, 61, of Riskin ners in Montecito died early Tuesday, her real estate group confirmed in a Facebook post.

Riskin is a professional ballerina before she earned the “first lady” moniker, according to KEYT. They sold more than $2.17 billion in real estate during her career.

“According to her wishes, we are planning to run, her life’s work with the same power, grace and elegance that is completely defined Rebecca,” Riskin ners: in the Facebook post. “Rebecca was a remarkable woman, and her legacy will continue to live and thrive by her children, Robert and Julia, her husband Ken, Grand, and its namesake company, Riskin ners.”


California Mudslides: What makes them so destructive.

Meanwhile, hundreds of seekers from all over the state continued to dig in the mud and debris left by the floods, which long sticks in the mud to probe for victims. The death toll from Tuesday’s pre-dawn flash flood rose to 17 on Wednesday as more bodies were found. 48 still missing.

“We already have multiple reports from aid workers that the manholes that were covered with mud, pools, which were covered with mud,” said Anthony Buzzerio, a Los Angeles County fire battalion chief. “The mud to act as a candy shell on the ice. It is crusty on top but soft underneath, so we have to be very careful.”


A dozen people were hospitalized at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and four were in critical condition, Dr. Brett Wilson said at a press conference

A damaged car sits on cases and dirt behind downed power lines in Montecito, California.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

People in Montecito had counted themselves lucky in the last month after the largest wildfire in the history of California spared the city, but it was the fire that led to the mudflow, through the burning away of the vegetation.

Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the residents fled when ordered, and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary. Rescue workers worked up to 12 hours a day and he risked on nails or broken glass, or exposed to sewage, or dealing with leaking gas, Deputy to Then-Page, chief of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team of the Los Angeles said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @travfed

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