TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. — The Latest on flash flooding in Arizona (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

Tonto National Forest officials say forest areas along the East Verde River and a tributary creek where 10 people died during July 15 flash flooding will be closed to the public until Aug. 31.

Forest officials say the closure Friday of day-use sites along the Verde and Ellison Creek and 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix is to protect visitors’ health and safety.

The closed sites include First Crossing, Water Wheel, Second Crossing, Third Crossing and Cold Springs Trailhead along with forest land within 500 feet of either side of the river and creek.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that the body of the 10th victim found was identified as 27-year-old Hector Miguel Garnica.

Garnica, his wife and their three small children were among members of an extended family swept away by a torrent of water from an upstream thunderstorm.


12:50 a.m.

An Arizona sheriff says a body found by searchers several days after a flash flood has been confirmed as a 27-year-old man who was with nine of his family members who died when the torrent roared through a swimming hole.

Gila County Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd confirmed Friday night that the remains found Wednesday were that of Hector Miguel Garnica, whose wife, three small children and other members of the same extended family died in the flash flood on July 15.

The victims were swept away after a torrent of water from a thunderstorm upstream roared through the Tonto National Forest where they had gathered to celebrate the birthday of Garnica’s wife. Officials say the extended family had no warning about the approaching surge of water.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.