13-year-old Jovan “JoJo” Mangual’s name has been added to the list of known victims who were crushed under tons of mud, trees and rocks in Oso, Washington’s mudslide on March 22.
JoJo’s body was found in the mudslide and officially identified on Thursday.
JoJo’s father, Army Staff Sgt. Jose Mangual, showed up at the site every day, wading through the debris looking for his son.
“I want to be there, I want to find my son. I wouldn’t do it any other way,” he said in an interview with CNN Monday.
Mangual searched through mud that was 70 feet deep in some places. “Of the five deployments I’ve been on, nothing compares to this,” he said.
JoJo was at home with his stepfather, Bill Spillers, and his 3 siblings when the landslide hit, destroying everything in its path.
JoJo’s mother, Jonielle Spillers, was out shopping and survived.
His 4-year-old stepbrother, Jacob Spillers, was rescued by a chopper crew in a scene that was captured on video and repeatedly aired on news stations across the country.
Jacob was on the 2nd level of the house when the mudslide struck, and officials speculate that may have been what saved him.
“I have no bad feelings just because [Jacob] got to get rescued and my son’s still missing. Nothing at all, I’m happy that he’s back with his mom,” Mangual said at the time.
The body of JoJo’s 5-year-old stepsister, Kaylee, was recovered. His two-year-old stepsister, Brooke, and his stepdad are still missing.
Mangual said he spent time with Jacob last week. He said the little boy is tough but he’s too young to understand the tragedy that befell his family.
“He’s too young, he doesn’t understand. I just hope in the future he’s able to overcome, because this is a lot to take,” he said.
Thanks to loyal reader Susan W. for the tip.