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Body Of 10th Victim Killed In Arizona Flood Identified

payson stream
(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
On July 15, this stream near Payson, Arizona, was 40 feet wide as flood waters swept through.

Authorities said Friday in Gila County have identified the remains of the 10th victim of a flash flood near Payson.

Hector Garnica and other members of his family were swept away from a crowded swimming hole on July 15.

Garnica was at a get-together for his wife’s birthday when the flood struck. Witnesses say the wave was filled with debris and was an estimated 30 feet wide.

Garnica’s wife and their three small children also died, and all the victims were from the same extended family.

Most of the bodies were found quickly, but search and rescue crews from across Arizona looked for Garnica for five days before his body was spotted by helicopter.

A group funeral for the victims, ages 2 to 57, will be held Tuesday in Scottsdale.


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.