BREAKING NEWS : Silver Alert issued for Trent D. Thomas of Fort Wayne Full Story

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: 36578

Reported Deaths: 2258
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10188604
Lake3876207
Allen181071
Cass15919
Elkhart158528
St. Joseph135838
Hendricks120478
Hamilton119194
Johnson1125113
Madison60061
Porter56233
Clark53942
Bartholomew53139
LaPorte44824
Howard44236
Tippecanoe4344
Jackson4012
Delaware39741
Shelby39722
Hancock35427
Boone32436
Floyd31941
Vanderburgh2913
Morgan28626
Noble27821
Montgomery24917
Clinton2471
White2399
Decatur23132
Grant22923
Dubois2113
Kosciusko2052
Harrison19622
Marshall1872
Henry18512
Vigo1828
Greene17226
Dearborn17122
Monroe17113
Lawrence17124
Warrick16729
Miami1461
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
LaGrange1282
Scott1263
Franklin1168
Ripley1086
Daviess10416
Carroll952
Wayne906
Steuben902
Wabash812
Newton8010
Fayette797
Jasper741
Jay580
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Fulton511
Washington501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb451
Starke423
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Wells350
Owen341
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford250
Adams231
Switzerland220
Spencer221
Fountain222
Gibson202
Parke180
Posey160
Martin140
Warren131
Ohio130
Vermillion100
Union100
Pike60
Unassigned0180

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37758

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6323295
Cuyahoga4789265
Hamilton2811171
Marion268832
Lucas2329263
Pickaway209938
Summit1529181
Mahoning1486191
Butler97532
Columbiana89453
Stark803102
Montgomery73417
Lorain73061
Trumbull60052
Belmont44915
Warren40721
Medina37624
Tuscarawas3714
Ashtabula36938
Miami36730
Delaware36014
Portage33557
Lake32512
Clark3237
Fairfield3188
Wood30649
Geauga30334
Wayne29651
Licking27110
Mercer2278
Richland2224
Allen22133
Clermont2195
Darke19023
Erie18416
Madison1647
Washington11819
Crawford1184
Morrow1081
Ottawa10717
Greene1065
Putnam9514
Sandusky9112
Monroe8015
Auglaize773
Hardin730
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Huron611
Williams581
Holmes573
Union561
Muskingum561
Hancock531
Coshocton480
Wyandot482
Clinton471
Shelby473
Fulton450
Logan430
Fayette410
Preble391
Guernsey382
Carroll353
Defiance342
Brown311
Lawrence301
Highland291
Champaign281
Seneca262
Knox251
Ashland230
Vinton212
Perry191
Athens181
Scioto180
Henry170
Jackson150
Paulding140
Adams111
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Angola
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Huntington
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Sunny & Pleasant Weekend
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events