There was Ms. Avenatti, who the department said had “a significant medical history” but who, according to neighbors, had refused entreaties to take shelter with them, insisting that she had seen worse in her years on the mountain.
Another victim, a 77-year-old man, was last known to be alive on the night of Feb. 28; after family members were unable to reach him by phone on March 2, they asked for a welfare check, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies weren’t able to get to him that day and returned to retrieve his body a day later.
“There was no indication the weather or a lack of food or resources contributed to the death, only delayed removal from the home,” the department said, using similar phrasing for the other deaths under investigation.
On Feb. 28, in Wrightwood, family members asked a friend to check on a 65-year-old woman who had “flulike symptoms.” The friend found her dead in her home.
On March 2, a landlord found his tenant, a 77-year-old woman, dead on the floor of her downstairs apartment in Crestline after seeing her alive a week before. A day later, a 62-year-old man was found dead at his home in Big Bear Lake after he had told neighbors he was feeling sick. He didn’t respond when they tried to check on him a few days later.
These deaths, too, the sheriff’s office said, did not initially appear to be related to a lack of food or resources.
In a brief accounting of each case still under investigation, the authorities said every one of the eight deaths appeared to be “natural.” The sheriff’s department, which also serves as the county coroner’s office, said there was no evidence to suggest that the victims died because they might have been trapped in their homes.