STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Her parents died in the mudslide. A stranger brought her mom's earrings back to her.

Scroll through the Montecito Disaster Lost & Found ...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 9:36 AM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 9:36 AM

Scroll through the Montecito Disaster Lost & Found Facebook page and you will find remnants of lives lost and homes destroyed.

Muddy Louis Vuitton luggage. A child's dirt-encrusted stuffed wolf. Photographs from happier times.

Sifting through the debris

Volunteers called "Mud Angels" are wading through several feet of mud to salvage items like these from the dirt and debris of the mudslides that ravaged Montecito, California.

At least twenty people lost their lives. Many others lost everything they had.

The Facebook page started when Erin Doherty found a pair of sparkling blue earrings in a muddy silk purse on Butterfly Beach in Montecito, California.

She posted the photo of the earrings on Facebook where the post was shared 10,000 times -- until it reached the owners' daughter. The woman's parents had died in the mudslide, Doherty said.

"She didn't have anything left from her parents' home," Doherty told CNN affiliate KEYT. With that connection made, Doherty started the Facebook group, which has become a forum for people to post anything they find- and whatever they're looking for.

One woman writes that everything she lost can be replaced, with the exception of a sentimental geisha statue. Another asks if anyone found her wedding rings that were in a floral pouch.

"People are being let back into their homes and they're finding other people's property all over," Doherty said. "It's hard to imagine, but there's thirty square miles of debris everywhere. It's like a bomb hit their house and threw everything away for miles even down to the ocean."

At the mercy of the mud

Doherty says they have returned approximately 100 items to the owners or their families.

"The people we are getting the items back to are just so unbelievably grateful to have one thing," Doherty said. "We are looking for the possible in an impossible situation."

She and the other Mud Angels headed to Butterfly Beach Saturday to dig through the mud to find more lost items. The mud varies from six inches in some parts to being caked three feet or higher.

"You can't be afraid of getting dirty. The mud smells, it has got stuff packed into it. The mud is starting to harden and the odds of finding photographs are going to be less and less. The photographs we are finding are the most valuable things that we are returning to people," Doherty said. "Everything is at the mercy of this mud."

Items that don't get matched with their owners will go to the Santa Barbara Sheriff's office, Doherty said. Sgt. John Maxwell with the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office said they have been in contact with the group.

"Montecito Lost and Found has been extremely helpful in connecting us with property owners and assisting residents in contacting the Sheriff's Office to arrange an appointment with our Property Officer to retrieve their found property," Maxwell said.

Doherty says they're not just looking for lost property as they dig through the muddy beach -- they are also cleaning up garbage and debris. The clean up effort will easily take months.

"People will find things on the beaches for years though," she said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154
West Lafayette
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 67°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Rensselaer
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Williamsport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 66°
Crawfordsville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 62°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 65°
Monticello
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 65°
Logansport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Some more storms ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events