Body of Salisbury woman’s brother found
SALISBURY — The long wait for Christine Hadaway Stamper and her family is over. The body of Steven Hadaway, a brother lost in the March 22 mudslide in Oso, Wash., has been recovered.
The body’s discovery was made exactly two months after the mudslide, which killed 43 people. Until Thursday, only the bodies of Steven Hadaway, 53, and Kris Regelbrugge, 44, had not been found.
Now it’s down to Regelbrugge only.
Stamper says a leg was found in the mudslide debris Thursday and sent away to a medical examiner for DNA testing. On Friday, searchers went back to where the leg had been found and unearthed the rest of the body, which was confirmed to be Hadaway’s through dental records.
The medical examiner’s office has not issued a formal press release, but the family confirms the body is Steven’s.
Stamper, long knowing her brother was gone, was heartened in knowing “we have all of him.” Stamper has three other brothers.
The family members gave themselves a little time to share the information with others close to them before making it public.
“Words cannot express how we feel having him home and knowing he is coming home,” said Stamper, a sixth-grade teacher at Knox Middle School.
She said her brother’s remains will be cremated, and a memorial service has been set in Washington state for June 28.
The mudslide hit about 10:37 a.m. Pacific Coast Time March 22, which was a Saturday.
Hadaway was installing a cable dish outside the home of Amanda Lennick, a nurse who had just bought the house and was trying to have some last-minute jobs completed over the weekend so she could move in.
Installing a water heater, a plumber and electrician also were at the home in the Steelhead Raven neighborhood. By most accounts, Lennick’s home — the farthest up the hill — was the first one hit by the mudslide.
Hadaway was probably the first person hit by the mudslide in which the earth moved at an estimated force of 180 to 190 mph, sweeping away a square mile of hillside.
The bodies of Lennick, the plumber and electrician were recovered soon after the mudslide probably because they were inside the house.
When they were allowed on the scene several days after the mudslide, hundreds of local people showed up with heavy equipment and chainsaws to search for bodies.
As of April 28, the post-mudslide efforts shifted from recovering bodies to debris removal. The cleanup crews were using spotters on heavy equipment as the work progressed.
Hadaway had been working for Dish Network less than a year.
Steven and his wife of 31 years, Margaret, raised two daughters, now 17 and 20, and a special needs child, Brandon, who died from a heart attack in 2000 when he was 6.
The Hadaways were foster parents before they adopted all three children.
The Hadaways’ home in Darrington was about 16 miles away from where the mudslide hit.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.
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