Paul Humphreys, Author at The Ring Finders

Lost Wedding Band Found After 7 Months! – Greenfield, Wisconsin

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

April 10th 2019 found Greenfield, Wisconsin residents, Christopher & Erica Hollman, dealing with a late winter snowfall. As Christopher brushed the snow from his car’s windscreen with his bare hand, he didn’t feel the loose-fitting wedding band leave his finger. Afterwards, it was while driving into town that he realized his ring was missing.

The couple spent hours looking up and down their driveway, in the snow, in the grass and foliage and along the sides of the road. Coats, pockets, shoes and boots were all inspected closely; every conceivable crevice explored. The Hollmans even reported the loss to their local police in case someone turned it in.

The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Still no ring. Then as the leaves began to drop, it seemed the ring was lost forever. Erica, however, continued to pray her husband’s ring would be found. The 14K white gold, heavily engraved love-token had been blessed by the couple’s priest at their wedding 5 years before.

I received an email from Erica on November 6th, nearly 7 months after the loss occurred. She documented the circumstances including their extensive search efforts. Like a forensic detective, her attention to detail was impressive!

I arranged to meet on location at the Hollman’s home the evening of November 25th. It was already dark when I arrived. Flashlights in hand, Erica and Christopher were keen to assist in any way they could.

Using Erica’s timeline and the position of Christopher’s snow-covered vehicle the day his ring went missing, I elected to search the foliage in a roundabout close by. As is often the case with an older establishment, the area was full of metal debris. I dropped golf balls to mark spots that needed investigation and Erica and Christopher followed behind on their knees scouring through the matted grass, weeds and leaves.

My detector of choice was a trusty XP Deus with a high frequency elliptical coil as well as a wireless probe which is used to pinpoint the exact location of a target in difficult terrain such as tall grass, rocks and bushes.

About an hour passed with only tin foil and bits of aluminum to show for our efforts. I explained how a search was a matter of eliminating areas, of knowing for certain where the ring was not. Moving systematically through the search area another signal registered with an appropriate pitch and conductivity number. It begged a golf-ball marker, but I decided to investigate it on my own. Parting the matted grass, a reflection from my flashlight caught my attention—it was Christopher’s ring!

I left the wedding band where it was, covered it over with some leaves, and called Erica. I wanted her to experience the joy of discovery and the answer to her prayers. Under pretense of teaching how the probe worked, she placed the headphones on her head and took the probe in her hand. I demonstrated by moving the probe towards my own wedding ring so Erica could hear the increased pitch and volume as the probe got closer. “That’s the sound we are looking for,” I explained. Then I invited her to check out the area where I knew the ring lay waiting.

Christopher hovered close, taking in the teaching moment along with his wife. As Erica moved the probe closer to the target, she heard the unmistakable sound again. Moments later, the long-lost love token was in Christopher’s hands!

I wish I had a video of the couple as they hugged and jumped for joy in one another’s arms. It was indeed a moment to celebrate! I think someone’s prayers were answered, don’t you?

Lost Wedding Ring, Found! — Beloit, Wisconsin

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

A one-acre house lot developed in 1929 has evolved into a park-like setting sprawling with mature trees, ornamental bushes and perennials of every description, not to mention its thick, well-established lawns. This was the scene where Beloit resident and property owner, John Clark, lost his custom-made wedding ring on October 25th while mowing and cleaning up freshly fallen leaves. He knew the ring was on his hand that morning but when he removed his work gloves at the end of the day, his ring finger was empty of its cherished love token. But where to begin looking?

I received a phone call from John the next evening. His son, Eric, who was visiting from Colorado, found The Ring Finder’s Directory online along with my contact information. After questioning John about his activities on the day of the loss, it was clear the ring had to be somewhere on the one-acre estate. Anyone who has embarked on such a search will understand the magnitude and challenge of locating a postage-sized piece of metal in such conditions. A needle-in-the-haystack metaphor seemed an appropriate description.

My wife and I arranged to meet John the next day. It was gorgeous. John met us at the door and introduced us to Kay, his lovely wife of 54 years. Kay showed us the ring on her finger which matched John’s. Mountains were carved into the ring’s circumference with three suns rising between their peaks, each representing one of their three children.

John retraced his activities as we walked around the property, stopping to remark on places he had stopped his lawn tractor or gathered up leaves and fallen branches. He had woken up in the night remembering how he had thrown some branches over a steep, leaf-covered embankment. I set to work sweeping these strategic areas with my XP Deus detector coupled with a High-Frequency elliptical coil. Ninety-years of human occupancy and numerous roof replacements impregnated the ground with nails and metallic debris, making it necessary to fine tune my equipment often.

After two hours of searching, the ring came to light in among the foliage where it had come to rest. I didn’t let on to John right away that I had found his ring. Instead, I made pretense of stopping for coffee and of moving to the next search area. It’s my sinister nature to create a memorable reveal. But I didn’t wait long—John was in enough agony.

Holding out my palm with the ring nestled in it, I stated in a matter of fact way that his ring couldn’t be in the lawn area because it was in my hand! Hugs ensued. Time to celebrate! And John’s smile tells the rest of the story.

Lost Diamond Earring Found! – Waukesha, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Allie Gruenwald of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was mowing a patch of waist-high weeds behind their country home when a low-hanging tree branch caught her diamond earring stud, flinging it into the thick tangle. The earrings were a gift from her husband, Chris. Now one of them was gone.

I received a phone call from Chris on July 5th asking if I might search for the lost earring. The prospects of detecting such a tiny piece of jewelry in such circumstances is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack! From my 40 plus years’ experience as a metal detecting specialist, I knew it would be a challenge even with some of the most sophisticated metal detecting technology at my disposal.

Upon arrival at the Gruenwald’s home, I experimented with the matching earring to get a reading on my equipment. Even in clean ground without any electro-magnetic interference, the response was barely audible. I calibrated my machine and set to work. It was almost completely dark when I picked up a very faint signal in my headphones. Upon investigating, the small gold retainer appeared about an inch and a half down in the mud; the earring could not be far away. I marked off the area and left instructions to cut the vegetation off level to the ground using scissors or pruning shears. I would return and scan the area again with the coil right on the ground. Having located the retainer, I was confident the diamond stud was close by.

Sure enough, I received a text message from Chris the next day with the happy news that the earing had come to light as expected!

Allie, may the story of your earrings continue for many years to come!

Lost Wedding Ring Found!- Triangle Park, Wauwatosa, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

New Berlin resident, Emily Griskavich, enjoyed a picnic at Triangle Park with her children on July 7th but later that evening discovered that her wedding band was missing. Returning to the park she scoured the grassy area and sidewalk areas without success. Had someone already found it? The possibility was troubling.

I received a phone call from Emily asking if I might help search for her ring. We agreed to meet on location after work on July 11. Once at the location, Emily took me to the picnic area and retraced her route along the sidewalk. It seemed a long shot because Emily was not entirely certain the ring was lost at the park. I explained how I could eliminate search areas by ruling them out and which might help narrow her search to other locations. That is unless someone had already found it.

My detector of choice for the search was an XP Deus with a high frequency elliptical coil. It is extremely sensitive to gold targets. I started scanning the grassy picnic area where Emily had spent the most time playing with her children, treating it as ‘ground zero’ in my search efforts. Barely twenty minutes into the search, my Emily’s ring appeared deep in the grass! She was flabbergasted at the sight of her precious love token!

Thanks, Emily, for the privilege of searching for and finding your ring. May its story continue for many more happy years!

Lost Engagement Ring Found! – Lake Winnebago, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Barely one month engaged, the unthinkable happened to Belgium, Wisconsin resident, Shannon Cooper. She was celebrating the 4th of July with her fiancé’s family on Lake Winnebago near Oshkosh. That’s when Shannon’s diamond engagement ring slipped off her finger and vanished into the lake’s murky depths. It was an emotionally shattering experience which left her feeling sick to her stomach. After a sleepless night, Shannon reached out to me through The Ring Finders directory of metal detecting specialists.

A couple days later, on July 6th my wife joined me for the ninety-minute drive and kept Shannon company for over seven hours while I swept the lake’s bottom with my Minelab Excalibur Detector. Unfortunately, the winds, waves and rains kept moving my buoys, making the grid search almost impossible. We would need to resume the search another time. Tears were visible in Shannon’s eyes when we parted. It was plain to see her heart was breaking. I encouraged her not to give up hope.

The next Saturday I arrived just as the sun peaked over the horizon. The water was like glass. Using photos taken from the boat 10 days before, I was able to triangulate off various shoreline structures and drop a buoy where the boat had been anchored. A grid search ensued from this point. Two and half hours later, Shannon’s beautiful ring lay gleaming in my sieve!

Matthew, Shannon’s fiancé, arrived not long after. He was prepared to spend the day searching with me. I outlined a search strategy, not letting on the ring was in my possession as I did so. I love being creative with the reveal! When I finally produced the love token, Matthew responded by throwing his arms around me. A text and phone call to Shannon conveyed the happy news!

I received a heartwarming note from Shannon a few days later. She wrote,

“Thank you for all the kindness you have shown to me and Matt in dedicating so much time and energy in finding my ring! While it wasn’t a pleasant trial, we got to see so many blessings through it, including the privilege of meeting you both… Thank you Paul for being relentless in your search.”

Lost Heirloom/Engagement Ring Found! –Sheboygan Falls, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Life can change in an instant! This proved true for Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, resident Rebecca Rabideaux on the morning of February 12th. It happened the moment she realized her diamond engagement ring was missing from her hand. The ring was also a family heirloom; it had once belonged to her grandmother. Now it was gone.

A sickening feeling whelmed up inside Rebecca as her mind went into a high-speed rewind mode; she tried to envision her every move in the past few days. The ring had been fitting loosely of late, the happy result of shedding some unwanted weight. Nightmarish scenarios flashed across her mind’s screen; the kitchen sink drain, the toilet, the garbage…

One memory sent Rebecca and her fiancé, Drew Wojciehowski, scurrying outside to the driveway with its waist-high piles of snow on either side. Rebecca recalled brushing snow off her car there early one morning. She was in a hurry and hadn’t put her gloves on. Anyone familiar with our North American winter conditions knows how the cold can shrink one’s fingers. Was Rebecca’s ring the victim of a perfect storm—a loose fit made worse by frigid exposure?

Despite their best search efforts, Rebecca and Drew could not locate the missing love token. The next day I received a phone call from Drew asking if I would conduct a search. He had located me on The Ring Finders website. We arranged to meet at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 16th. In the meantime, I urged Drew to keep his fingers and toes crossed!

After an hour and half drive from my home in Waukesha, WI, I arrived in the picturesque city of Sheboygan Falls. When I pulled up in front of the house, Drew was already outside waiting for me.

I left my metal detecting equipment in the car, introduced myself to Drew and listened to his account of where Rebecca’s vehicle was when she brushed snow off it with her bare hand. The garage door was open as he talked and my experienced eyes were already glancing over his shoulder, scanning the snow banks, the driveway and the garage floor. Imagine my surprise when on the concrete just inside the garage I spotted Rebecca’s ring! I walked over, picked it up, and handed it to Drew saying, “I’m thinking this is probably what you are looking for!”

Drew’s jaw dropped as I placed Rebecca’s gorgeous diamond ring into the palm of his cupped hand! Mission accomplished! Drew couldn’t believe they missed seeing it! As for me, this successful ring search ranks second in time only to a ring I once spotted for a client before I even got out of my car!

I’m so glad to have found your ring, Rebecca! And my best wishes on your upcoming wedding to Drew on October 5th—may the story of your ring continue with many, many happy years together.

One-of-a-kind wedding ring found! Wauwatosa, WI.

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Wauwatosa, Wisconsin resident, Betty Jo, lost a one-of-a-kind wedding ring while cleaning up her garden. The ring was designed and created in Thailand many years ago. Betty Jo’s late husband had it made for her. Now it was gone.

I received a phone call from a kindly neighbor friend, Karen. Would I come and search for Betty Jo’s ring?

I met up with Betty Jo the next evening. She was visibly grieving the loss of the ring and all the memories it held. I followed her as she retraced her steps to where she was the moment she suddenly realized her precious ring was missing.

Equipment in hand I worked my way down a row of small bushes, probing the foliage and leaves as I went. Betty JO searched with me. Indeed, the ring suddenly appeared when she raked away some leaves that were covering it.

Mission accomplished!

Lost Wedding Rings Found! – Sussex, Wisconsin

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Wedding rings belonging to Sussex, Wisconsin residents, Mark and Shandell Geyer were lost in an overgrown tangle of burdock bushes, vines and raspberry canes at the end of their garden. To make matters worse, the remains of a long forgotten chain-link fence lay partially buried in the mud next to a high-voltage electric cable. These conditions were a metal detectorist’s worst nightmare.

I received an email from Mark asking if I might help. He had rented a metal detector but the conditions proved futile.

My first search attempt was in the dark. After a few hours, it was clear to me that the area would need to be systematically cleared of the growth and metal debris. I arranged a second visit, spending the better part of an afternoon and evening pruning away the brush and extracting old metal pipes, fencing and rubbish. Once cleared, I was finally able to detect the area and adjust the settings on my XP Deus metal detector to minimize the electrical interference, but in the end I had no rings to show for my efforts.

Another week went by while Mark cleared yet another section of brush. I returned a third time to sweep the area. Mark’s hope was reflected in his text to me when he wrote, “Third times a charm!”

When a sweep of the newly exposed area failed to bring the rings to the light of day, I began to seriously entertain the idea that the rings may have been lost elsewhere. Construction of a new house close by threatened to cover the search location with dirt and rocks. The rings would be lost forever if that were the case. As impossible as it seemed, two faint signals on the perimeter of the construction site invited further investigation. And amazingly, Mark’s ring first came to light and then about 8 feet away Shandell’s ring appeared in the muck.

With the precious rings in my pocket, I explained to Mark that the rings were definitely not in the area we had cleared. The disappointment was visibly apparent in his face. While walking towards the construction site, I relayed how I investigated a faint signal beneath a partially buried sediment barrier. Then, pulling the ring from my pocket I said, “This was all it was!” Mark was speechless. I then told how another very faint signal beneath the newly bulldozed dirt pile some 8 feet away prompted another dig. “But,” I explained as I pulled the mud-caked love token from my pocket, “it was just Shandell’s ring!”

Perseverance pays. It was like Mark said, “Third times a charm!”

Lost Platinum Wedding Ring Found! Oconomowoc, WI Yard-Waste Center

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

It was like searching for a proverbial needle in a haystack. But instead of a needle, it was an engraved platinum wedding ring belonging to Oconomowoc, WI resident Steve Nichols. And instead of a haystack, it was a colossal mound of clippings at The Town Yard and Waste Recycling Center.

The ring flew off Steve’s hand and vanished into the mound late Saturday afternoon as he was emptying his pickup truck of yard waste. Despite 5 hours of sifting through all manner of vegetative debris, Steve, his wife, Anne, and friends were unable to locate the missing love token. Even with the use of a rented metal detector it could not be found. The detector emitted a cacophony of indistinguishable chirping sounds, which only added to the Nichols’ frustration.

The following morning, Steve and Anne returned to the mound and resumed their search; three discouraging hours later, no ring. That’s when Anne contacted a Wisconsin member of The Ring Finders Directory, Dan Roekle, who in turn pointed her to me since I lived closer.

I made arrangements to meet with Steve and Anne on location. After showing me the sequence of events that led up to the ring’s loss, I began a search of the perimeter and surface area of the formidable mound. As I began to cover the area where the truck had been parked, a faint signal was heard which invited careful excavation of material. With each pass the audible signal increased and data, now visible on my XP Deus screen, was consistent with the denseness of platinum. Finally, the source of the signal proved to be none other than Steve’s ring!

The search took all of 15 minutes!

Thanks Steve and Anne, for the joy and privilege of finding and returning your precious wedding ring. May its story (which now includes being buried and lost in a humongous pile of yard clippings and then beyond all odds found), continue for many, many happy years to come.

Lost Keepsake Ring Found! Dousman, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Dousman, Wisconsin, resident Sarah Weishar was enjoying a swim with family and friends at a local lake, that is until she felt her petite gold and birthstone ring slip from her finger into the watery depths. But it was the ring’s threefold sentimental value that made the loss so acute—it was both a birthday gift and a commemoration gift, the latter being Sarah’s confirmation at church; the ring, with its cross and birthstone served as a tangible token of the fact she is a precious child of God and as such, to respect herself. Thirdly, the ring would remind her of a dearly loved cousin, Conner, who had sadly passed away; the ring spoke of his presence with her still and of his preciousness to her family.

After searching for hours, it seemed to Sarah her keepsake ring was lost forever.

It was later that she discovered The Ring Finders website directory of metal-detecting specialists. That’s when I received an email from Sarah asking if I could assist. There was a sense of urgency in her words that betrayed the pain of loss. It was as though I was her last hope.

After arriving on location it became apparent that the spot where the ring went missing was not so definitive. Underwater searches are challenging, especially when volleyball-court sized areas and larger are involved. It requires time and patience to execute a systematic grid-search, overlapping the search pattern so as not to miss any signals.

The lake quickly bore testimony to its popularity with local swimmers—there were coins galore! It has always bemused me why people swim with pockets full of loose change! Were there hidden underwater vending machines of which I was unaware? It took time to extract the coins but it was necessary to make sure Sarah’s tiny ring wasn’t hiding out with a nickel or a quarter. The Wisconsin lake also held its share of beer-bottle caps.

Darkness was fast closing in when a faint signal invited further examination. I extracted a scoop of sand and stones in my sieve and then swept over the excavation site with the coil of my Minelab Excalibur detector. The silence in my headphones confirmed that the source of the faint signal was now in my scoop. After sifting through the material there lay Sarah’s ring—mission accomplished! Now for the fun part…

I waded to shore where Sarah and her Mom and friends waited expectantly. They huddled around as I dug deep into my pocket and pulled out a fistful of coins. Then I produced a bottle cap. But what they didn’t know was that I had discretely slipped Sarah’s ring beneath it. “Here’s a Wisconsin souvenir for you,” I said as I placed the cap in her open hand. The puzzled look on Sarah’s face was predictable. Finally, like a magician, I whisked the cap away exposing the ring!

I just love how the mood changes when a ring is found! Smiles tell the rest of the story. It is what makes this hobby so enjoyable.

Thank you, Sarah, for allowing me the privilege of searching for and finding your precious ring. May its threefold story, now with a fourth, continue for many years to come.