Tuesday , May 18 2021

Hundreds still missing in California's Camp Fire. Their families cling to the hope



Sol Bechtold took three hours to Butte County to provide the police with a DNA sample.

"I'm going to do something to find my mother," she told CNN shortly after she left the sheriff's station. "I take into account the result that I pray for not being what I finally get."

Bechtold usually talks to his mother, Joanne Caddy, every weekend.

He saw smoke on November 8 all the way in the area of ​​the Bay of San Francisco, so it was announced the news when he arrived home. He saw the main story and immediately picked up the phone to call Mom.

"Everything I have had was a noise on the line that sounded like a fax machine," he said, thinking that he accidentally marked the wrong number. "I figured that the telephone lines should burn. Try to call their neighbors and get the same noise."

Dorothy Lee Mack

Delbert Mack saw the news too. Her sister, Dorothy Lee Mack, lived in Paradise about 20 years ago. Two days after the fire, Delbert has not heard Dorothy yet.

He also tried to call his home phone and the Ridgewood Mobile Home Park where she lives. Not the number worked.

"Your birthday is today," Delbert told CNN on Friday. Dorothy, a cancer survivor, turned 88.

Now, Bechtold, Delbert and hundreds of other people await news, all that will give them a more hopeful molecule.

"We are desperate to find an answer"

Although their calls did not happen, families did not stop trying.

Bechtold would call his mother's numbers from time to time, just to prove the telephone lines; maybe a call would come in some way. Delbert and his family began to call people living in the same mobile home park.

In the immediate sequence of the fire, they tried to talk with people still in the area, asking them to drive through Dorothy's properties. In recent days, the entire family of Delbert has been calling the hospitals, hoping that Dorothy was verified.

They joined Facebook groups organized to connect their loved ones to the missing people.

A neighbor told Steven Paul, the son of Delbert, who gave his life to Dorothy's property administrator around all houses and telling people to leave.

The only thing left in Dorothy's house at 6674 Pentz Road Space 19 is "ash and sheet". Your car is not there.

Bechtold turned to Paradise and placed leaflets with his photo in the shelters. They called hospitals, shelters – anyone who can help.

"We are desperate to find an answer," Delbert told CNN. "Everyone in the family is anxious. And they hope they give me positive information. I do not have any information to give them."

Scramble authorities locate hundreds

As the total extent of the damage was seen, with almost all the city of Paraíso reduced to ashes, it was clear that the efforts of Mack and Bechtold needed to intensify with the presentation of a missing person's report.

The Department of the County Sheriff of Butte says that the family and friends they want to make must call 530-538-6570, 530-538-7544 or 530-538-7671.

Those who make a call should speak to a person, instead of leaving the voicemails.

And they are encouraged to provide an update if they listen to their loved ones.

"We are now disappearing from people who called in welfare control or to inform someone missing," explains Sgt. Steve Collins told CNN Dan Simon on Wednesday. "Those are the areas that we are initially sending to the officers and deputies, to confirm if the structures are still standing or not."

That is why it is imperative that missing persons be reported to officers. Even when the reports are archived, it may take time to add names to the list.

When CNN spoke for the first time with Bechtold and Mack families, their names have not yet been added. They are now

"I need to know about it," says Bechtold. "In one way or another."

Thanksgiving is a week away, and it's been a week since the fire.

They, like the other families of the hundreds missing at the Camp Fire, expect them to have news: their loved ones are still around but they can not get in touch.

Whatever Dorothy, Del wants his sister to know that the whole family is ready to help.

"I want her to know that I love her and I miss her," said Bechtold about her mother. "I really want you to go home".

Amanda Watts from CNN contributed to this report.


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