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Woman still searching for partner lost in Las Vegas flooding

Updated April 2, 2020 - 9:00 am

As floodwaters rose in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas on the night of March 12, Wendy Cox and William “Sky” Pilgrim stood atop the makeshift structure where they lived and tied their arms together with a rope.

Partners for nearly two decades, they didn’t want to lose each other in the flood.

The water carried them away, pushing them out of the tunnels and into the Flamingo Wash near Flamingo Road and Cambridge Street, their heads bobbing on the surface. Cox felt the rope get snagged, causing it to snap. Pilgrim never came back up, said Cox, 41.

“It plays in my mind over and over again,” she said. “I am losing myself.”

Pilgrim, 44, is one of at least two people still missing after the flash flooding. Also missing is 24-year-old Denise Jackson.

The Clark County Fire Department conducted a search of the area that night and the next morning. Two people were pulled out alive that night, authorities said. But Larry Walker, 26, was found dead the next day, and Jeremy Hogg, 40, was found dead March 20, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.The rainfall total of 0.77 of an inch set a record for March 12 in Las Vegas, according to the National Weather Service.

Search continues

Now, Cox and friend Kimberly Knight, who also made it out of the tunnels that night, have put together a flyer for Pilgrim and are posting copies of it across town at bus stops and on light poles.

While there are posters for Pilgrim — described as black and about 5 feet, 7 inches tall — the group couldn’t find photos of Jackson, Knight said.

Knight described Jackson as black with short, black hair and dark brown eyes who had a female robot tattoo on her chest area. She was about 5 feet, 8 inches tall, Cox said.

They have filed missing persons reports for Pilgrim and Jackson, and the Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday that the cases were still active.

Their search comes at a time when local, state and federal officials are in overdrive and citizens are staying indoors to halt the spread of the coronavirus. A community of people who already feel overlooked under normal circumstances fear that Pilgrim and Jackson don’t stand a chance at being found.

“Everybody is thinking about everything else going on,” Knight said.

Living with regret

Cox said that after losing Pilgrim, she floated on her back on the racing water. She grabbed onto wiring holding together rock bundles that form the boundaries of the wash. After catching her breath, she pulled herself out of the wash and onto land near the Cambridge Recreation Center.

When rain causes flash flooding in Las Vegas, people living in the tunnels beneath the city have only minutes to get out of its way.

“It sounds like a freight train is coming,” Knight said.

But flooding the previous few times hadn’t been that bad, Knight said, so on March 12 some people waited until the last minute to make a move.

“I regret we even took a chance of staying in there,” Cox said.

Anyone with information about Pilgrim or Jackson can contact Metro’s missing persons detail during business hours at 702-828-2907.

Contact Dalton LaFerney at dlaferney@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0288. Follow @daltonlaferney on Twitter.

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