Santa Barbara- S County

Facebook group reunites owners and families with lost treasures from Montecito mudslide

Reuniting families with missing items from mudslide

MONTECITO, Calif. - A Facebook group is reuniting people with valuables that washed away during the Montecito floods and mudslide. 

It all started when Erin Doherty of Santa Barbara was helping a friend impacted by the disaster.

Doherty was walking by Butterfly Beach and found a silk satchel. 

"It was mud soaked and I opened it up and inside there were a pair of earrings, gorgeous blue earrings," Doherty said. 

Doherty posted the find on Facebook and her post was shared more than 10,000 times. 

It turns out, the earrings belonged to James and Alice Mitchell who perished in the mudslide. 

Doherty was able to return the earrings to the James and Alice's daughter. 

"At that point, she didn't have anything left from her parents home," Doherty said. 

The find inspired Doherty to start the Montecito Disaster Lost and found Facebook page. 

People started to post pictures of what they found in the aftermath of the mudslides including photos, plaques from people's homes, and statues. 

"At this point, we have a 90 percent success rate returning items," Doherty said. 

On Saturday, Doherty and a group of volunteers went back to Butterfly Beach. 

They search the sand and in the mud, hoping to find more lost items. 

"The people we are giving the items back to are so unbelievably grateful to have one thing," Doherty said. 

Besides the earrings, a photo album of the Mitchell family was also found. 

Doherty is now working on getting it restored and returned to the family. 

"People, quite honestly are going to be finding things for years," Doherty said. 

The Montecito Disaster Lost and Found Facebook group can be found here.


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