The first named victim of a devastating California wildfire that has so far killed 10 is a 16-year-old student who was 'supposed to leave with his brother' but couldn't escape the flames.
Josiah Williams, 16, died in the North Complex fire that ripped through the community of Berry Creek in Butte County, California, this week.
His devastated family broke their silence to announce his death after several fraught days searching for the teen culminated in the discovery of his body.
This comes as the West Coast continues to be ravaged by almost 100 major wildfires that have scorched almost 4.4 million acres and killed at least 23 across 12 states.
The North Complex fire is now California's deadliest blaze of the year with 10 people confirmed dead after Butte County sheriff's deputies found seven bodies Thursday - one day after three other victims were discovered.
Fears are mounting that the death toll will continue to rise as officials warned at least 16 people are currently unaccounted for.
The first named victim of a devastating California wildfire that has so far killed 10 has been identified as 16-year-old student Josiah Williams (pictured) who was 'supposed to leave with his brother' but couldn't escape the flames
Josiah's distraught family was notified about the 16-year-old's death Thursday, his aunt Bobbie Zedaker told The Sacramento Bee.
She said authorities confirmed his identity using his brother's DNA after 10 bodies were found in the aftermath of the North Complex fire.
Zedaker said the family were struggling to come to terms with his death as the 'outgoing' and 'kind' high school student was supposed to flee the area with his brother.
'He was supposed to leave when his brother did, but he didn't. I have no idea why,' she told the Bee.
Family members had been searching for Josiah for days and posted messages on social media asking for help in locating the missing boy who was last seen at the family home on Bean Creek Road.
Josiah's mom Jessica Williams wrote on Facebook Wednesday that her son had not been seen since other family members escaped the blaze earlier in the week.
'I'm asking for all the prayers to find my son Josiah Williams who is in the fire in butte county california he didn't leave with his brother or dad and now berry Creek is burned where my sister is also stuck but please everyone my son is Missing and not to be found so please dear God help my family and find my son,' she wrote.
BUTTE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: A scorched car rests in a clearing following the Bear Fire late Wednesday morning - part of the North Complex Fire. Josiah's devastated family broke their silence to announce his death after several fraught days