Man found buried in van six feet under mud

Hundreds of drivers abandoned their cars during last week's historic mudflow in the Antelope Valley. One person never made it out.

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department spokesperson says a man was buried under six feet of mud after his Chevy van washed into a catch basin in Palmdale.

Neighbors were horrified it took five days to find his body.

"Someone said a car got washed into the grapes right there but no one could find it," said Palmdale resident Lucio Celeste.

Many say they called the city multiple times about the car that few off the road on M-8 near 62nd.

The sheriff's spokesperson said there was no report of a missing person and when the city got calls Thursday about a car that washed over, officials came.

"When the fire department got on scene, the conditions were such that it wasn't safe for them to search directly in the area," said L.A. Sheriff's Lt. Victor Lewandowski.

Public works came back when conditions got better, used a three foot metal probe to search for a car, but the tool wasn't long enough to detect a vehicle.

"There had been reports that the vehicle had been washed over but they hadn't been any evidence of it. Now this was days later - when conditions were right - to see when conditions were better," said Lewandowski.

Finally Tuesday afternoon, officials say conditions were right to use a backhoe to clean out the catch basin.

They found signs of an overturned van and a person inside.

"As they began to dig further down, they noticed a human hand protruding from the vehicle," said Lewandowski.

Deputies say the man lives nearby.

Neighbors Tuesday night, feeling both frustration and sadness.

"You feel for the people. You feel for the people who maybe lost their loved one," said Quartz Hill resident Katie Clawson.

Deputies know the man's name, but the family does not want to release it.

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