The 17 bodies at the morgue do not include the bodies of six relatives found in a van in Houston on Wednesday.
Sammy packed his elderly parents and their four great-grandchildren into a van as water rose around their northeast Texas home on Sunday.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said relatives returned to the scene to look for signs of the van and notified authorities after spotting part of it poking above the water.
"She's a mom - she just wants to find her kids", Esmeralda Saldivar, the children's aunt through marriage, told NBC News.
After the auto was swept away, Sammy managed to get out of his seat belt and climb through the driver's side window.
So as Danny and his wife made their own plans to escape, he told Sammy: Take the keys, take the van, take them to Ric's house. "He was doing a real good job", Ric Saldivar said.
By the time deputies got to Sammy, there was no sign of the rest of the Saldivars and little chance they had survived. According to family members, the van quickly sank with everyone inside.
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As of Monday, the Saldivars are among at least 14 dead, though that number will nearly undoubtely go up as the water recedes and the true impact of the storm becomes known.
Four children, Daisy Saldivar, 6, Xavier Saldivar, 8, Dominic Saldivar, 14, and Devy Saldivar, 16, were inside together with their great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar, 84 and 81 years old respectively. I don't know if the uncle who went to go get them saw the van get swept away.
"Sam calls my husband and tells him, 'They're gone, '" she told the AP.
"Initially, we viewed two bodies that appear to be adults in the front seat of the vehicle and we've been waiting for additional resources to get out here and investigate further", Sheriff Gonzalez said.
Ms. Salazar, who works at Legal Aid of Western Ohio and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, said her co-workers provided strong support. He packed up his parents and the children in the van as Tropical Storm Harvey flooded their neighborhood. "But the van at that point was under four feet of water".
Family and friends of the Saldivar family have stepped up to help them offset funeral costs. Then he turned to his mother and father and grandnieces and nephews, and the sinking van that trapped them.