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April 1st, 2014
08:29 PM ET

Washington landslide death toll rises

Oso, Washington (CNN) - Among the mounds of mud and ripped-down trees, you see an occasional appliance, a tire here and there, the twisted cables that used to be part of the telephone system. What you don't see are homes.

They are gone. And it is difficult to even figure out where they once stood and what became of them.

The sheer force of a landslide on March 22 pulverized this neighborhood in rural Washington, leaving behind the debris where 27 bodies have been recovered and where crews painstakingly search for at least 20 people who are listed as missing.

On that awful Saturday, a rain-saturated hillside along the north fork of the Stillaguamish River gave way, sending a square-mile rush of wet earth and rock into the outskirts of the town of Oso in Washington's North Cascade Mountains.

Since then, rescuers have trudged through the muck - 70 feet thick in some places - looking for bodies, though some cling to hope someone might be found alive even 10 days later.

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