Remains Discovered of Teen Killed in 2018 Montecito Debris Flow

Jack Cantin Died in the Disaster Alongside His Father, David, and 21 Others

Jack Cantin | Credit: Courtesy

KEYT reported Thursday that the remains of 17-year-old Jack Cantin have been discovered three and a half years after he was killed in the Montecito debris flow. 

Jack’s mother, Kimberly Cantin, told reporter Beth Farnsworth that the remains were found approximately 1,000 yards from the family’s former home on Hot Springs Road. While the discovery was made in late May, the family waited to go public while a lab analysis confirmed the findings. Kimberly declined to provide the exact location, calling it “sacred ground.”

Kimberly and her daughter were injured in the disaster, which claimed the lives of 23 Montecito residents and devastated the seaside community. Kimberly’s husband, David, was among the casualties. His body was recovered on the beach near the mouth of Montecito Creek on the morning of the debris flow. The body of the last remaining victim, 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa, has yet to be located.

Kimberly told KEYT she never gave up hope that Jack’s remains would be found, and she thanked the many people and agencies who spent thousands of hours looking, including neighbors and volunteers, the Bucket Brigade, the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team, and Dr. Danielle Kurin, a forensic anthropologist at UCSB.

“The amazing thing is, I will have Jack to bury at the cemetery next to his father, with dignity, so that I can have closure,” she told Farnsworth. “My family can have closure. Jack’s friends can have closure. And, the community can have closure.”

UPDATE: In response to KEYT’s story, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

Today the Sheriff’s Office received the KEYT news story that indicated that the remains of Jack Cantin, a 17 year-old who has been missing and presumed dead since the devastating 1/9 Debris Flow in 2018, had been found.

Later today the Sheriff / Coroner’s Office received, and is in the process of reviewing, a one-page
“Fast Fact Forensic Report” prepared by a UCSB anthropologist, Dr. Danielle Kurin, that was
referenced in today’s news story. In the “Fast Fact” report she opined that the remains “are
consistent with those of Jack Cantin,” and that she is “over 90% certain that these remains are those
of Jack Cantin.”

Sheriff / Coroner investigators are seeking the full report from Dr. Kurin. Once obtained, it will be
reviewed as part of the ongoing investigation. In the meantime, the case of Jack Cantin’s
disappearance remains open. We will continue to work closely with the Cantin family on this case, as
we have since the day he disappeared.


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