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Washington officials put off updating slide toll

A search and rescue worker carrying a probe wades through water covering Washington Highway 530 Thursday, March 27, 2014, on the eastern edge of the massive mudslide that struck Saturday near Darrington, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)

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ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) -- Washington state authorities put off updating the death toll from a catastrophic mudslide after previously saying they would announce a substantial spike in the number of fatalities.

Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots said Friday the official death stood at 17, though searchers have located additional bodies that are not part of that toll.

Officials previously braced the small communities 55 miles northeast of Seattle that they would announce a significant jump in the number of deaths Friday morning.

Hots now says the new numbers will be released Friday evening. He says the information must come from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office after they go through the process of identifying the bodies that are recovered.

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