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'I wish I could've convinced her to stay somewhere else.' Son mourns loss of his mother in Montecito mudslide

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Hayden Gower spent most of the day on Wednesday searching for his mom, 69-year-old Josie Gower, who had been swept away in the mudslide in Montecito early Tuesday morning.

"I wish I could've convinced her to stay somewhere else," Gower said.

He says his mom's home was in an evacuation warning zone.

It wasn't until Wednesday evening that the worst was confirmed.

"She was found like a good mile down the creek," Gower said.

He says it didn't seem like his mom had suffered and that died as a result of blunt force trauma. Like so many others impacted by this tragedy, Gower says he never expected this.

"We really thought she was going to live to be 100," Gower said.

Josie Gower lived a full life.

"She was such a strong woman, she'd go swimming every day," Gower said. "She was 69 but didn't look a day over 40."

Her family was the center of her life. Gower says she was so excited to be the grandparent to three grandchildren. She was always someone who liked to have fun and left an impact on everyone she met.

"She was full of life, and yeah, everyone loved her," Gower said.


Hayden Gower with his mother, Josie Gower. (Photo courtesy Hayden Gower)

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