Members of Extended Family Swept Away by Arizona Flood Had Gathered to Celebrate

Eric Chaney
Published: July 17, 2017

Officials have not released the names of those swept away from an Arizona swimming hole over the weekend, but family members have identified the four adults and five children who died in the flooding.

Carla and Iris Garnica told the Arizona Republic that the victims were all members of their extended family from Phoenix and Flagstaff.

“It was my brother’s wife’s birthday today, so it was a getaway birthday weekend to celebrate,” Carla told the paper. “They were just driving out yesterday.”

22-year-old Carla Garnica helped identify the victims of the flash flooding in Arizona, who were all members of her extended family. Her brother, 27-year-old Hector Miguel Garnica, is still missing.
(Nicole Carroll/The Republic)
Maria Raya, who would have turned 26 on Sunday, was one of the nine deceased victims who had been located as of Sunday evening. Her children Emily, 3, Mia, 5, and Hector Daniel, 7, also perished. 

Maria's sister Maribel Raya, 24, her daughter Erika Raya, 2, and Maribel's brother Javier Raya, 14 along with Selia Garcia, 60, the mother of Maria, Maribel and Javier, and Selia Garcia's grandson Jonathan Leon, 13, were also found deceased. 

The victims' identities were also confirmed to ABC15 by Maggie Lopez, a stepsister of Jonathan Leon.

Maria Raya's husband, Carla’s brother, Hector Miguel Garnica, 27, is still missing. He is the father of the three children that passed. 

"He has to be found. They can’t stop looking until he’s found,” Carla told the Republic. ”He has to rest in peace with his whole family. He's always said, 'I'm never leaving my children and my wife.' He has to complete his promise to be with them.“

(MORE: Search Resumes for Missing Man: 9 Dead After Flash Flooding Sweeps Through Arizona Swimming Hole)

Tom Price, who said he knows Hector Garnica and the rest of the family, set up a GoFundMe page that had, as of Monday morning, raised almost $8,000 for funeral costs.

"I hope that they can find (Hector) Miguel so that he can be buried with his family and hopefully they can somehow move on past this," Price said. "I don't know how. It’ll take some serious time. I don’t even know how long its going to take me to get over it, let alone them."


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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