Missing woman found dead after mud, debris flows slammed Forest Falls

A search and rescue team with a dog outside a damaged structure surrounded by mud, rocks and debris
Search and rescue teams search for a woman at a home damaged by mud and debris in Forest Falls on Monday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A woman who was missing after a torrent of mud, rocks and other debris slammed into the community of Forest Falls this week has been found dead, authorities said Friday.

Doris Jagiello, 62, was found around 3:15 p.m. Thursday near Valley of the Falls and Canyon drives, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Her body was “buried under several feet of mud, rocks, and debris,” the department said.

Searchers found one of Jagiello’s dogs alive inside her home, but her two other dogs remained unaccounted for Friday, said Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Allison.


Heavy rainfall lashed parts of San Bernardino County on Monday. Some areas near the Apple and El Dorado burn scar area received more than 2 inches of rain in an hour as the remnants of Tropical Storm Kay passed off the Southern California coast.

NOAA’s satellite image showed Tropical Storm Kay hovering Saturday off the coast of Southern California and Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.

Sept. 12, 2022

Oak Glen and Forest Falls were hit with debris flows 10 to 12 feet thick in some areas, pushing boulders, rocks and trees into communities and onto roads.

“The powerful storm resulted in debris flows rushing down the natural drainages and creek beds in Forest Falls,” the Sheriff’s Department said. “As a large debris flow consisting of mud and extremely large boulders raced downhill, it overran Jagiello’s property and impacted her home causing significant structural damage and carrying away everything in its path.”

Debris flows often occur when rain falls on recently burned areas.

“Southern California has a long fire-flood history and has the greatest risk of post-fire debris flows in the world,” Jason Kean, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who studied the 2018 Montecito mudslides that killed 23 people, told The Times last year, when areas where the Ranch 2, Bobcat, Apple and El Dorado fires burned were at high risk of debris flows.


The standard amount of rain it takes to trigger a debris flow after a moderate or extreme fire is usually about a half-inch an hour, but some of these areas are so steep and unstable it could take as little as two-tenths of an inch to start seeing mud and rocks flow down, Kean said at the time.