Avalanches and Landslides

Mudslide lost and found offers ray of hope amid heartache

When a torrent of mud crashed through Mari Mitchel's bedroom in Southern California three months ago, it carried away everything from massive pieces of antique family furniture to a tiny pouch that held her wedding and engagement rings and a beloved pendant.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, Mitchel had nearly lost all hope she would ever see her most treasured jewelry again.

But on April 3, the 65-year-old Mitchel got what she calls her "tiny miracle." The pouch filled with her jewelry was plucked from a 6-foot (2-meter) pile of mud down the street from her house.

"My knees were shaking, and I was oh-my-goshing and jumping up and...

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