A family was swept away after a mudslide feared was caused by wildfires sweeping through their Colorado cabin.
David Brown, 61, and his sister Patricia Brown, 59, have been confirmed to have died after Tuesday’s mudslide in Poudre Canyon near Rustic, Colorado.
David’s wife Diana, 57, is still missing. David and Patricia’s father Richard is also reported missing, although a body discovered Monday in the rubble is feared to belong to him.
Patricia’s remains were first found last Tuesday, after which an autopsy later revealed that she had drowned.
David’s remains were found on Sunday in a driveway, the cause of death of which has yet to be determined. Results of an autopsy on the second man found dead in the Poudre River are also yet to be shared.
David Brown, 61, is one of three people known to have died after a mudslide swept through his family’s cabin in Rustic, Colorado last Tuesday.
David’s sister Pat, 59, has also been confirmed to have been murdered. Her body was recovered last Wednesday
David’s wife Diana, pictured, and his father Richard are still missing
The third body found, identified as a man, was discovered Monday, although an identity has not been shared, it is believed to be Richard Brown
David and Patricia stayed in their cabin was in the cabin with David’s wife Diana, and their father, Richard, who owned the property.
David and Diana’s son, Colorado, 27, said he fears his mother and grandfather are almost certainly dead after last week’s flash floods caused a mudslide that swept through Poudre Canyon and destroyed five other cabins.
Trees and plant roots normally help absorb rainwater, sparking speculation that plants destroyed by wildfires could have prevented last week’s tragedy.
According to friends, David, or “DB” as he was known, and his wife Diana traveled from their home in San Antonio to the cabin every July for the past 30 years.
Patricia was visiting from her home in Madison, Wisconsin, when tragedy struck.
Colorado remembers his beloved relatives telling the Mail Online, “Mom liked to keep it to herself. She was very close to those around her and didn’t let many people in, but loved deeply. She was creative, smart and cheerful.’
‘Papa was a man of few words, but chose them carefully and with impact. He was easily the funniest man I’ve ever known. He scared most people when he met them, but once you got to know him, you saw how much heart he had.”
‘My aunt was quiet and gentle, but loved what she did [orchestral French horn player] very much and loved her family.’ Patricia enjoyed cooking, traveling by car, doing jigsaw puzzles of all kinds, genealogy and spending time with her cats, according to her Profile of Orchestra Iowa.
“Grandpa was a pillar of his community. He was strong-willed and outspoken and had been living in Colorado full-time for several years.” Richard was a retired Air Force pilot and had begun preaching in his retirement.
The 27-year-old recalls peaceful visits on the trails and wildlife watching that frequented the cabin every year until he graduated. Thinking back on his family trips, he recalls that the cabin was “not a place where we had strong and troubled memories, but where we went to not have them for a few weeks to be at peace.”
Hilary Keahey, a longtime friend of the couple, shared: Texas Public Radio she remembers David and his family traveling to the Colorado cabin every year. “It was definitely his happy place, he spoke of it as a retreat,” she recalls.
David worked for Southwest Airlines for over two decades. According to Keahey, Diana was known among her friends as an accomplished jeweler. Both were well-known members of the theater community. DB was a founding member of the Oxymorons, an improv theater group formed in San Antonio in 1989 and very active in the 1990s.
Brown (left) with the improv group he started in the 1990s, the Oxymorons
“He was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known,” said Keahey, who joined the company in 1994.
Keahey reminisced about DB’s generosity onstage as a collaborator. She spoke of Diana’s support for DB, she was active in the San Antonio Theater Coalition, her active participation in her church theater, and her dedication to their son. She has maintained the friendship with the couple despite the end of the company.
Another Oxymoron alumnus, Manny Pelaz, remembered DB as a huge man – Brown was around six feet – who was very gentle and gentle, calling the beloved man his ‘comedic mentor’.
“The man didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was generous on stage. He was generous offstage. It’s hard to find someone who is 100% committed to others,” he said.
Search and rescue teams have continued to search Larimer County in search of the missing people
David and Diana’s love of theater was shared with Colorado, who studied performing arts at the Savannah College of Arts and Design. Pat also joined the family’s love of performing as a French horn player.
Before any deaths were confirmed, Keahey had already accepted the deaths of her friends and their families. While she was obsessively trying to get the news over the weekend about the Browns’ fate, she saw a photo that confirmed her worst fears.
A maroon 2016 Honda Odyssey minivan was mangled in the wreckage. “It was broken and scratched and twisted. I knew they were gone. Because I sold them that car,” Keahey said.
“If you see something like that and you know it’s probably parked next to the cabin. And it looks like this. And the reports say the hut has been swept away,” she said, “it’s hard not to accept that their souls are elsewhere now.”
The sheriff continued to scout the area for several days with dozens of search and rescue workers searching the debris, but were often hampered by weather as additional flash flood warnings slow efforts.
Six homes, including Brown’s, were destroyed and another damaged, all on the same road, the sheriff’s office said.
Mudslides and flash floods swept through the area where the Brown family owned a cabin for decades
The deadly extreme weather occurred in the same area where Colorado experienced their largest fire in recorded history last year
The floods and shifts occurred in an area burned down last year by the 844-square-mile Cameron Peak Fire, the largest in Colorado’s history. Burns flares of vegetation that usually help absorb rain and keep the ground stable, making those areas more vulnerable to flooding, especially in steep sections. The soil in burned areas can also repel rain.
Extreme temperatures, low humidity, gusty winds and rough terrain contributed to the fire’s rapid growth, the first to spread in the state to about 313 square miles (811 square kilometers), according to federal fire managers. A large number of trees killed by beetles and affected by the drought also fueled the growth of the fire, according to their final summary.
Scientists say climate change is responsible for more intense and frequent extreme weather such as floods and droughts and events such as wildfires. But more research is needed to determine how much global warming is causing, if at all, a single event.