by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
SALISBURY, N.C. - A Salisbury woman said she finally has closure after her brother's body was pulled from the debris of the massive mudslide in Washington state two months after he disappeared.
Christine Stamper told Channel 9 the last nine weeks have been agony while she waited for word on her brother, Steven Hadaway, one of two remaining victims in the March 22 mudslide whose body had not yet been recovered.
"How could I possibly give up on him? You know, when you don't have any proof, there's always hope," Stamper said.
Hadaway was installing a Dish TV system on a home near Oso when the mudslide swept down the hillside, burying him and dozens of others.
Stamper said her brother loved to be outdoors. Hadaway had been married for almost 31 years and was the father of three adopted children. His three brothers, who also live in Washington, joined thousands of others in the search effort in the weeks after the mudslide.
"Waiting to know that someone is gone -- I would not wish that on anyone in this world. Waiting is worse than death," Stamper said.
Although the official search was called off in late April, Stamper told Eyewitness News she never gave up hope that Hadaway's body would be found.
"We prayed that we would find him. We never thought we would find all of him," she said.
On Friday, an official discovered Hadaway's body, intact, underneath a woodpile nearly a half mile from where he was last seen.
Stamper said it was the answer to her anguish.
"I know that he's at peace. He loved the mountain, and the mountain is what took him," she said.
Stamper plans to travel to Washington in late June for a memorial service to honor Hadaway.
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