Chartiers-Houston grad missing in Washington state mudslide

  • By Mike Jones March 24, 2014
An undated photo of the Spillers family

A 2001 Chartiers-Houston High School graduate was among the more than 100 people still missing Monday after a deadly mudslide in Washington state.

Billy Spillers and three of his children were among the 108 people missing since the massive mudslide Saturday morning swept away the family’s home and nearly 50 neighboring residences in Arlington, Wash.

At least 14 people died in the mudslide that struck the neighborhood about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

Attempts to reach Spillers’ wife, Jonielle, were not successful.

She was not home at the time of the slide, but her husband and four children were inside the house. She posted Sunday night on her Facebook page that their 4-year-old son, Jacob, was rescued, but Billy Spillers and three other children were still unaccounted for.

“(T)hey are still missing … along with many others … please pray they find them today,” Jonielle Spillers wrote on her Facebook page Sunday night.

Chartiers-Houston School District officials said Spillers played basketball and was named an all-conference defensive end in football.

Chelsea Falcione, who attended Chartiers-Houston High School with Spillers, lost touch with him in recent years after he joined the U.S. Navy and moved West. She remembered him as a good friend and better person.

“We were close in high school,” Falcione said. “Billy was probably the best person I ever met. He was always happy.”

She knew few details about Spillers’ life in Washington state or details surrounding the mudslide. She said other classmates who kept in touch with him were working to promote a fundraising donation page to help his family.

The donation website through was started shortly after the mudslide by family friends. Donations reached more than $8,000 by Monday night and continued to climb toward the $10,000 goal.

Emergency responders continued searching for victims Monday with little success. Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said authorities think nearly half of the 49 homes destroyed by the mudslide were occupied at the time.

“The situation is very grim,” Hots told the Associated Press Monday.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.


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