Suit names sheriff’s office
Kim Cantin is suing the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office over possession of what she and a former UCSB anthropologist believe are the likely remains of her son Jack, who died during the Jan. 9, 2018 Montecito debris flow.
In July, Dr. Danielle Kurin, then a UCSB anthropologist, said she was more than 90% confident that the remains, found in May 2021 within 1,000 yards from where the Cantin family’s home once stood on Hot Springs Road in Montecito, were those of Jack, 17. But on July 22, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said the Sheriff’s Office/Coroner investigators were continuing the missing person investigation and needed to see Dr. Kurin’s full report.
On Saturday, the News-Press checked online information concerning a federal docket and saw that Ms. Cantin’s suit was filed Oct. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The case was assigned to Judge Mark C. Scarsi.
Mrs. Cantin, who told the News-Press last summer that she felt relief from the realization she could now bury her son, is represented by Santa Barbara attorney Barry Cappello.
Jack and his father, Dave Cantin, were among the 23 people who died in the debris flow. Search crews couldn’t find Jack’s body after the debris flow, which set the stage for a three-year search.
The Cantin family were at their Montecito home when the debris flow hit their house. In addition to Kim Cantin, Kim and Dave’s daughter Lauren survived the debris flow. The Montecito Fire Department rescued Lauren, who was buried for several hours under mud, and first responders heard her cry for help through all the mud.
Dave Cantin’s body was found at Hammond’s Creek near the mouth of Montecito Creek.
Last summer Kim Cantin told the News-Press she felt relief over the discovery of Jack’s remains.
“I’m just relieved (now),” the Santa Barbara resident said. “It’s obviously a tragedy. I’m always going to miss my husband and son, but I’m much more relieved and at peace knowing that his remains can be buried with dignity, and I can tuck him into a casket and bury him next to his dad.”
Dr. Kurin resigned in January from UCSB, but said the resignation wasn’t related to the Cantin case.
The News-Press reached out Saturday to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for a comment about the suit, but had not heard back before going to press Saturday night.