Originally created 09/22/04

Two more flood victims found in N.C.



HARMON DEN, N.C. -- The bodies of a missing Tennessee woman and her young son were found Tuesday in western Haywood County, making them the latest victims of flooding in the North Carolina mountains by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan.

Searchers found the bodies of Danielle Forrester, 27, and her 4-year-old son, Julian Forrester, shortly after noon Tuesday.

The Haywood County sheriff's office did not immediately return phone calls seeking confirmation of the discovery, but Sgt. Greg Chistopher of the North Carolina Highway Patrol's Haywood County office said the bodies had been found.

A search had been under way since Saturday, after Danielle Forrester's flooded Ford Escort was found on a road near the Pigeon River in Harmon Den. The bodies were discovered at least a half mile from the car, the paper said.

The deaths bring to 10 the total blamed on the storm.

The Pigeon River had poured over its banks when Forrester left Sevierville, Tenn., for Charlotte to see her boyfriend. Interstate 40 was closed and investigators have said they believe the woman got lost trying to find an alternate route.

The car was submerged in the Pigeon River just off Interstate 40 in Haywood County. It contained luggage but no passengers, authorities said.

Meanwhile, officials in Macon County were still trying to identify human remains found in the rubble of a landslide in southwestern North Carolina. Rescuers using cadaver-sniffing dogs found the partial remains Monday under tons of mud and debris that swept through the tiny Peeks Creek community during a landslide.

Jennifer Hollifield, spokeswoman for Macon County EMS, said Tuesday that the remains had not been identified.

"Macon County emergency director Warren Cabe said this morning that they are beginning to move into the recovery stage (at Peeks Creek)," she said. "We are trying to get life back to as normal as possible."So far, three people have been confirmed dead in Peeks Creek. A woman who survived remained hospitalized after doctors had to amputate one of her legs. She also lost the fetus she had carried for seven months.

Cabe has identified the known victims as Sharon McCollum, 54, of Franklin, Colton McCollum, 3, of Franklin, and Katie Watts of Pensacola, Fla.

Watts' husband, James, was still missing, he said. The couple came to stay with family in Macon County to avoid Ivan's direct hit on the Florida Panhandle.

The storm also killed two men in Buncombe County, a man in Henderson County and women in Haywood and Yancey counties.Also Tuesday, Gov. Mike Easley continued his tour of the flood-damaged area with a planned flyover of Watauga and Avery counties, in the northwest part of the state.

And officials warned residents across the region to be on the lookout for scam artists.

Cabe warned Macon County residents to be aware of potential scams and price gouging in connection with people seeking flood-related donations or offering repair work and services.

"We will deal with those with the harshest of actions," he said. "It will not be tolerated."

Similar scams have been reported in Avery, Yancey and Watauga counties, with residents reporting that they had been solicited by people saying they are with FEMA and asking for bank account numbers and other personal information.

The Avery County manager's office said scammers have been going door-to-door while officials in Watauga County reported that residents have been getting phone calls seeking private banking information.