Camp Fire death toll drops to 85

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Kristin Lam

Officials in Butte County de­liv­ered a dou­ble dose of good news on Camp Fire re­cov­ery at a Mon­day press con­fer­ence: The num­ber of both the miss­ing and the dead has de­creased.

The num­ber of the miss­ing dropped to 11 peo­ple, while the death toll was re­vised from 88 to 85.

How? In­ves­ti­ga­tors de­ter­mined that hu­man re­mains col­lected in three sep­a­rate bags, all given their own case num­ber, be­longed to the same per­son.

“Through the process that has taken place at the Sacra­mento County Coro­ner’s Office and the au­topsy, DNA has now confirmed that the re­mains in those sep­a­rate bags were, in fact, one in­di­vid­ual in three in­stances,” Butte County Sher­iff Kory Honea ex­plained.

The Sher­iff’s Office has ten­ta­tively iden­tified 38 in­di­vid­u­als based on cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence. Another 43 have been pos­i­tively iden­tified by us­ing DNA in 31 cases, den­tal records in 12 and finger­prints in four. In­ves­ti­ga­tors vis­ually iden­tified two vic­tims.

Officials have not been able to give ten­ta­tive iden­tification for three hu­man re­mains, Honea said. Officials have no­tified the next of kin for 43 cases.

Firefighters con­tained the Camp Fire on Nov. 25, the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Forestry and Fire Pro­tec­tion said. It burned 153,336 acres and de­stroyed nearly 14,000 res­i­dences.

USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

Very lit­tle of Par­adise, Calif. is rec­og­niz­able.

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