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Chapter Closes For Guatemelan Families Killed In Flood Waters


OKLAHOMA CITY — A tragic chapter has finally closed for several Guatemalan families in Oklahoma City. Seven people from the Cifuentes and Santos families, three adults and four children, were swept away in the flood waters after the tornado roared through our area back on May 31st.

All the bodies, except for Yolanda Santos, had been found. But Sunday morning around 10:30, fire search crews located her body behind a fence at 3601 Venice Boulevard, near N.W. 36th and May.

Crews had been searching much farther downstream, but Deputy Chief, Marc Woodard, says since her body hadn’t turned up anywhere else; they decided to take a shot in the dark and back track a little.

They found her actually embedded in the ground above the creek that feeds into the Deep Fork River; near the height the waters had risen to the night of May 31st.

Dr. Claudia Rossavik is the family doctor and has assisted the families in finding housing. She says they were all in a meeting Sunday morning at her clinic when the family received the news that Santos’ body had been found.

“It was incredible, the relief that we all had in that room. And then everybody stood up and prayed you know, clapping for this because this, this closes the chapter for the family that started – where is the mother?” said Dr. Rossavik.

All three of Santos’ children had been found. There had even been a funeral on Saturday for them and the three members of the Cifuentes family that died with them.

“We did not have Yolanda and we did the funeral service yesterday hoping that we find Yolanda sooner than later,” said Dr. Rossavik.

Dr. Rossavik says Santos moved to Oklahoma City about a year and a half ago from Arizona and was building a successful life, working at a nursing home in Bethany.

She says the Guatemalan consulate told the families all the bodies would be returned to Guatemala, their home country.

“He assured that everyone would be repatriated at the cost of the Guatemalan government and once they arrived there, the Guatemalan government would be receiving them at the airport,” said Dr. Rossavik.

The Guatemalan culture is a very family-based society and returning loved ones is very important to that small Central American country.

Below are some photos viewers sent in on the storms that hit the area on May 31st.