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72-year-old Paradise woman killed in Camp Fire identified by Butte County sheriff

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office released the name of another person who died in the Camp Fire last year.

The identified person is Phyllis Salazar, 72, of Paradise, according to a news release Wednesday.

Salazar and her husband, Chris Salazar, were together in their Sawmill Road house when the fire ripped through Paradise. Their surviving children were all foster children, making the identification process more difficult, their granddaughter Melina Gonzalez previously told The Bee.

“They were always, always together,” she said. “That’s probably how they would’ve wanted to go.”

Of the 85 fatalities, 78 have now been positively identified, 5 have been tentatively identified, and two remain unknown.

The two unknown remains have been a puzzle for law enforcement and coroners – no relatives or friends have come forward, and there are no other identifiers such as fingerprints and medical devices.

Butte County officials and the Sacramento County coroner’s office hope to identify the last two victims through a process called forensic genealogy — the emerging technique combining DNA analysis with ancestry records. The methodology was successful used to arrest Citrus Heights resident Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist.

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Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks covers Sacramento County and the cities and suburbs beyond the capital. She’s previously worked at The New York Times and NPR, and is a former Bee intern. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she was the managing editor of The Daily Californian.
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