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Searchers May Have Found 10th Victim Of Payson Flash Flood

East Verde River
Stina Sieg/KJZZ
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file | staff |
The East Verde River, a tributary of the Verde River.

Authorities in Payson believe they’ve found the 10th victim of a flash flood that struck a crowded swimming hole Saturday. DNA tests will confirm whether the body found Wednesday afternoon is indeed that of Hector Garnica.

Garnica’s wife and three small children are among the dead. They were all at a family gathering a when a large wave, filled with debris, swept through. Tiffany Davila, with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, said more than 100 rescue personnel have been searching for Garnica for days.

“A lot of these people have been here since day one, so they’re physically and mentally exhausted,” she said. “They’ve been giving their all. They haven’t stopped. Some of them haven’t even slept. So, we appreciate everyone coming together to help find the last remaining victim.”

A funeral for the 10 people who died will be next week.

To hear an interview with KJZZ's Stina Sieg on The Show, click here.

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When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.