HOUSTON — More than 60 people – including a veteran Houston police officer – have died or are feared dead in the Houston area and beyond in flooding or circumstances connected to Tropical Storm Harvey, according to local officials.
Among those is a family of six reported missing after their van was swept away by floodwaters in east Houston near Greens Bayou on Sunday afternoon. The van driver was trying to transport his elderly parents and their four great-grandchildren away from rising floodwaters but encountered high water. The driver survived but was unable to pull out the other occupants. The van was recovered Wednesday, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
Medical examiners are in the process of confirming which deaths are related to the historic flooding. And authorities are still searching for some of those believed to have perished. Local officials expect the grim discoveries of additional bodies once the floodwaters retreat and the streams, rivers and bayous go back into their banks.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said Saturday that it has confirmed 29 storm deaths, all but one of which were accidental drownings.
Here are some details on the confirmed dead and those feared to be deceased:
* Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, drowned in his car in floodwaters Sunday morning, officials said Tuesday. The officer, who served in the HPD for 34 years, was driving to work when he entered an underpass and got trapped in high water at Beltway 8 and the Hardy Toll Road. His body was found Tuesday by a police dive team.
* Alexander Kwoksum Sung, 64, an immigrant from China who ran a South Houston business, died at his clock repair and restoration business in the 900 block of College Avenue on Sunday afternoon. He had gone to his longtime business to ride out the storm but was found in 1.5 feet of “debris,” according to the medical examiner report.
* Agnes Stanley, an 89-year-old Audubon Houston volunteer, died over the weekend. She was found Sunday morning in 4 feet of water in her one-story brick home in the 4300 block of Meyerwood, inside the southwest edge of the 610 Loop near Stella Link.
* Travis Lynn Callihan, 45, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital around 3 p.m. Monday. He perished after exiting a vehicle and falling into floodwaters.
* Batool Qasem, 76, died after driving into high water and leaving her vehicle on Warrenton Drive in Houston Saturday evening. She was found floating in floodwaters near her vehicle in the Buffalo bayou area.
* Ronald Zaring, 82, died of a heart attack while riding a charter bus on the Hardy Toll Road. The medical examiner report noted that he suffered from heart disease and pneumonia. Friendswood police said Thursday that the Friendswood Health Center patient was evacuated on Sunday and then cared for at a local high school. He was being transported by a strike team to Huntsville on Tuesday when he died, police said.*
* Andrew Pasek, 25, died Tuesday after stepping on live electrical wires in floodwaters in northwest Harris County, according to the medical examiner report. His family said he died in the Bear Creek Village subdivision while trying to rescue his sister’s cat from the house she had evacuated.
* Jorge Raul Perez, 33, and Yahir Rubio-Vizuet, 45, were found floating in water by the Houston Fire Department on Tuesday. They were among four men reported missing after setting out in a small boat with three others to assist neighbors in northeast Houston. The group encountered swift water in Greens Water and struck a power line, shocking the boaters and tossing them into the water. The three survivors were found suffering from burns and were taken to the hospital for treatment. The bodies of the two other missing volunteer rescuers were found Thursday. They are Gustavo Hernandez Rodriguez, 40, and a 33-year-old man believed to be Benjamin Vizuet.
* Belia and Manuel Saldivar, ages 81 and 84, and their four great-grandchildren died when their van was swept away by the current in Greens Bayou in east Houston on Sunday, according to the sheriff’s office and the medical examiner. The children’s great-uncle, who was driving the vehicle, managed to escape but was unable to save his parents and the young children. They are Devorah (or “Devy”), 16; Dominic, 14; Xavier, 8; and Daisy, 6. All were students in the Pasadena school district.
* Clear Creek ISD in Galveston County confirmed on Facebook Tuesday that longtime former Clear Creek High School track and football coach Ruben Jordan has died. Family members told KHOU-TV that Jordan, 58, died in weekend flooding. Friendswood police said Thursday that his body was recovered by boat in the 3000 block of West Bay Area Boulevard. The family said in a statement, “Our family would like to extend our sincere appreciation and thanks for the effort, support and prayers we received while trying to locate him.”
* The body of Calvin Oran Montalbano, a 54-year-old man, was found Tuesday in a grassy area near the Eastex Freeway.
* The body of Benito Cavazos Juarez, a 42-year-old man, was found face-down in a parking lot on Tuesday after waters receded at the East Freeway and Holland Avenue.
* Wilma Ratcliff Harris, 73, died Monday at LBJ Hospital after the Coast Guard found her floating during a search-and-rescue operation. NOLA.com reported that she had been found seemingly lifeless in floodwaters earlier Monday and resuscitated by a Louisiana man. Family members had desperately been seeking word on Harris, who got separated by relatives and was unable to speak.
* The body of Martin Salazar, 49, was found Wednesday in a ditch on Preston Avenue in Pasadena after evacuating his home.
* The body of Michael Tucker, 66, was found floating in 4 feet of water on Tuesday after leaving his residence.
* The body of Keisha Monique Williams, 32, was found at a fence on Woodforest Boulevard in Houston on Wednesday, after floodwaters receded.
* The body of Colby Henry Osorno, 24, was found Thursday in the Greens Bayou/Houston Ship Channel area.
* Manuel Acevedo, 67, found early Monday in an alleyway after floodwaters receded on Arkansas Street in East Houston.
* Efrain Angel, 26, who was found Tuesday morning in a drainage ditch near Harris County Katy Park.
* The bodies of Alonso Guillen, a 31-year-old disc jockey from Lufkin, and 25-year-old Tomas Carreon Jr. were recovered from Cypress Creek over the weekend. The two were among a group of volunteer rescuers who’d disappeared around midnight Wednesday after their boat hit the bridge over the creek and capsized. One of them was rescued after clinging to a tree in the rushing water. Guillen’s body was found Sunday by searchers, two days after Carreon’s was recovered.
* In Houston, officials reported the death of an 8-year-old boy who’d suffered an asthma attack during the flooding.
* Walker County authorities said a 6-month-old baby girl is missing and presumed dead.
* The child was swept out of her parents’ arms last Sunday as they tried to flee from their vehicle, which was trapped in floodwaters along Highway 150 near New Waverly. The family had been headed for Louisiana to try and avoid the storm.
* Authorities hadn’t yet identified several drowning victims: a man, age unknown, found floating in high waters on a residential street in the 7400 block of Claiborne; and a 65-year-old man who collapsed in floodwaters in the 4900 block of Airline Drive.
* Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted early Sunday about an unconfirmed report that a woman and child were inside a submerged vehicle along Interstate 10 near Lathrop. He later tweeted that deputies were not immediately able to reach the vehicle to confirm the deaths.
*An employee at the Omni Hotel in the Galleria was reported missing Monday and has not been located. Jill Renick has served as the hotel’s spa director, said Chris Palmquist, reservations supervisor at the hotel. Family members believed she tried to ride out the storm at the hotel, which was severely flooded, but she has not been located.
FORT BEND COUNTY
A Katy preacher and his wife died when they drove into high water on Pool Hill Road while trying to check on a family member Wednesday afternoon. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as Donald Rogers, 65, and his wife Rochelle, 58.
* A 54-year-old man was found who had died of drowning during storm rescue efforts in Dickinson on Aug. 27. No further details were immediately available, according to John Florence of the Galveston County medical examiner’s office.
*The body of a 59-year-old man who had died from drowning during the storm in Dickinson on Aug. 27. No further details were immediately available, according to Florence.
*An 83-year-old League City man died in another storm-related death. The cause of death is pending, according to Florence.
* An elderly woman died in her Santa Fe home on Saturday after her oxygen tank failed when the electricity went out, according to Florence. Crews recovered her body on Aug. 27.
*Another woman died in Texas City after she was unable to get dialysis during the storm and flooding; no details were available, Florence said.
* One man was found dead Sunday in a La Marque Walmart parking lot, but it may not be storm-related.*
* A Porter woman was killed when a tree – loosened by saturated ground – crashed onto her mobile home. from Tropical Storm Harvey caused a tree to crash onto her mobile home Monday afternoon. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as Lisa Jones, 60, of Porter. Authorities said Jones was asleep in the bedroom when the tree fell.
* A man in his 60s died after walking on Monday into floodwaters near Spring Park Ridge and the Grand Parkway in Spring, according to the South Montgomery County Fire Department. Passersby spotted the man enter the water and go into distress at about 11:30 p.m., but were unable to help him before he went under. A search that night was unsuccessful, but after residents reported finding the body of a man wearing the same clothes Tuesday night, deputies located the body and transported it to the medical examiner for identification.
* Joshua Aedan Feuerstein, 33, was caught in rapid floodwater on Fish Creek Thoroughfare near the Woodforest subdivision. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Capt. Bryan Carlisle said Feuerstein became distressed and tried to get help. Rescuers and bystanders were unable to get to him before he died, Carlisle said.
Rockport’s mayor reported that one man died in a mobile home fire when Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25.
Two people were killed in Jasper County around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday when a tree fell on their truck traveling down FM 777. The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the deceased Aug. 30 as Russell Barnes, 51, and Ginger Barnes, 43, both of Alvin. Russell Barnes was behind the wheel of the 2012 Ford pickup at the time of the accident, when wind gusts were already high in Southeast Texas as Tropical Storm Harvey neared a daybreak landfall at Cameron, La.
Beaumont police on Aug. 29 found a 3-year-old clinging to the body of her drowned mother in a rain-swollen canal after the woman tried to carry her child to safety. Police identified the mother as Colette Sulcer, 41, the Beaumont Enterprise reported. Her daughter was being treated for hypothermia but stable.
Beaumont police on Aug. 30 recovered the body of a woman found in the city’s low-lying North End. She has not been identified.
Rescue teams found a body floating in the 8600 block of Overhill Lane on the night of Aug. 30 . Police did not identify the person.
In Port Arthur, authorities said Sept. 2 that an 88-year-old woman was found dead in a flooded home.
Newton County Sheriff Billy Rowles said a man and a woman two have died in his county due to floodwaters.
Orange County officials said Sunday there have been nine storm-related deaths in the county so far. Four of the deaths were elderly people and possibly related to a power outage, according to officials. “If you have a friend or family member that did not leave areas that were impacted by the rising waters and you have not heard from them, we urge you to contact your local law enforcement.”
SAN JACINTO COUNTY
A San Jacinto County resident died in floodwaters near his residence on Aug. 28, mysanantonio.com reported. Deputy constables have confirmed the death of Jimmy Capers, the uncle of Sheriff Greg Capers. Capers was reportedly herding cattle away from the floodwaters toward higher ground alongside friends and family members. Precinct 3 Capt. Peter Sparta said Capers was possibly swept underwater by the current. Efforts to revive him after about he spent about 5 minutes underwater were unsuccessful.
Walker County authorities said a 6-month-old baby girl is missing and presumed dead. The child was swept out of her parents’ arms Aug. 27 as they tried to flee from their vehicle, which was trapped in floodwaters along Highway 150 near New Waverly. The family had been headed for Louisiana to try and avoid the storm.
* An 83-year-old woman died after her vehicle was caught in floodwaters in Walker County. Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Associated Press that a state trooper checking the road early in the morning on Aug. 29 came across Ola Mae Crooks’ vehicle. The trooper contacted the swift water rescue team, which recovered the body. Crooks apparently drowned when her car was swept off a farm-to-market road at the San Jacinto River near her home, Sgt. Steven McNeil told the Huntsville Item newspaper. He said a preliminary investigation suggests she was trying to cross a bridge.