Canonsburg native's body found in Wash. mud
Search teams in Washington state recovered the body of a former Canonsburg man who went missing in the March 22 landslide about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.
Billy L. Spillers, 30, who lived with his family in Arlington, Wash., died of blunt-force injuries, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office reported on Monday. A spokeswoman working with disaster responders would not talk about his case.
Spillers is among 33 people confirmed dead in the landslide, including his children, Kaylee Spillers, 5, and Jovon Mangual, 13. The medical examiner's office named 30 of the deceased and is working to identify the others.
“It's a tragic thing that I don't think anybody is ever prepared for,” said retired guidance counselor John Haught of Houston in Washington County, who was Spillers' football coach at Chartiers-Houston Junior-Senior High School.
Haught said Spillers was popular, outgoing and well-liked in high school, where he was a defensive end and a basketball player. Spillers graduated in 2001 and joined the Navy, working most recently as a command career counselor in Everett, Wash.
“I think the athleticism he displayed brought attention to him,” Haught said. “He was a nice kid, a good student, never any problem or trouble — just a nice young man and a good citizen.”
A native of New Albany in Bradford County, Spillers earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2008 from Strayer University, according to a Navy-supplied biography. He enlisted in October 2002, won service-related awards, and served at sea, including the Western Pacific Ocean and the Arabian Sea, the Navy said.
Several relatives and friends could not be reached for comment, and a Navy spokeswoman said the family has not released information about memorial services. A March 28 candlelight vigil at the Chartiers-Houston football field raised more than $1,300 to help Spillers' wife, Jonielle, and the rest of their family.
A fund at YouCaring.com listed more than $45,700 in donations for the family, including son Jacob, 4. Rescuers pulled Jacob from the landslide shortly after mud and debris inundated about 1.2 square miles.
Jacob's sister Brooke, 2, remains among a dozen people missing. Jonielle Spillers was at work when the disaster struck, family friends said earlier.
About 350 National Guard soldiers and more than 500 others are helping the search-and-recovery effort, said Meg Matthews, a spokeswoman for the responders. She said the Army Corps of Engineers will build a temporary berm this week in a saturated area to help workers drain five to 10 feet of water.
“Right now the dogs we have out there can't do a whole lot of detecting through water,” Matthews said. She said workers want “to bring closure to as many families as possible.”
An investigation into the cause of the landslide continues.
Adam Smeltz is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins add adviser PJT Partners to assist in potential sale
- Penn State goaltender Skoff gets chance to impress the Penguins
- Storm causes scattered power outages in central Westmoreland County
- 1,500 lose power in Alle-Kiski Valley
- West Virginia defense looks to reach higher level of play this year
- Weather puts county emergency operations into ‘storm mode’
- Pirates notebook: Kang settling in to comfort zone
- Suspended Maryland wide receiver eyeing Pitt
- Judge sentences Arnold man already serving time to prison on federal charges
- Violent domestic dispute prompts evacuation of Spring Hill neighbors
- District 31 Legion roundup: Latrobe rallies in 7th to defeat rival Unity