SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Many are missing amid California's storm of wildfires and searches have been marked mostly by confusion.
Even establishing a decent estimate of the unaccounted-for has proved too difficult, with authorities citing a wide range of different figures within a single day Wednesday, though all were in the hundreds.
Authorities believe some of the missing are only struggling to reach loved ones because of communication problems. Others have been counted twice, inflating the numbers. But officials say others will almost certainly be added to the death toll, now at 23.
Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said his investigators were beginning to work the missing-persons cases one at a time, but they're limited to looking in the "cold zones" they could reach.