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Santa Barbara - South County

Remains of Jack Cantin, teen killed in Montecito debris flow, located more than 3 years later

MONTECITO, Calif. - The remains of Jack Cantin, the 17-year-old Montecito boy who died in the Montecito debris flow, have been located.

Jack's mother, Kim Cantin, shared the news with NewsChannel 3-12 from her home overlooking Santa Barbara. She revealed that remains of her son were found within 1,000 yards of the site of the family's former home on Hot Springs Road in Montecito, in the debris path near the creek. 

The discovery happened around Memorial Day, however, Cantin said lab analysis and the quest to find additional remains warranted more time before going public. 

"All my mama fibers in my body said he didn't go to the ocean and I knew he didn't," said Cantin.

The body of Cantin's husband, Dave, was found on the beach near the mouth of Montecito Creek on the morning of the January 9 Debris Flow. Dave was one of 23 people who perished in the 2018 disaster. The Cantin's home was among those destroyed.

Search crews and volunteers spent three and a half years searching a 110-acre zone for the remains of Jack and 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa. Crews working with dogs logged 2,000 canine search hours. The toddler's remains have not been found. 

Cantin and her daughter, Lauren, who were both injured by large debris, never gave up hope. Neither did hundreds, if not thousands of local residents and people across the country. Many were complete strangers.

"It was the love of all the people, whoever they were, who helped along the way," said Cantin. "If it was neighbors providing access on property, if it was the Bucket Brigade, if it was my sacred search team which was about seven people who would come out with me all the time for three and a half years. And, Santa Barbara (County) Search and Rescue. And, what really made it all happen was engaging the UCSB Anthropology Department and Dr. Danielle Kurin, a Forensic Biologic Anthropologist. 20 minutes away from us -- what amazing technology and resources to find Jack. And that's what they did."

Cantin said the exact location where Jack's remains were found is "sacred ground" and will not be revealed.

Those wanting to honor Jack with flowers can visit the Santa Barbara Cemetery at the Linda Vista west location, plot number 462.

"The amazing thing is, I will have Jack to bury at the cemetery next to his father, with dignity, so that I can have closure. My family can have closure. Jack's friends can have closure. And, the community can have closure. I know this community was amazing and everyone was rooting and praying that we'd find these kids."

Ultimately, Kim says, it was love that brought Jack home.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that Jack Cantin's case will remain open until the sheriff's office can verify the findings by the UCSB Anthropology Department.


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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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