Building-Lot Engagement Ring Found! – Oconomowoc, WI

  • from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

A bitter cold wind ripped across the vacant lot beside the Oconomowoc, WI home of Timothy and Wendy Thorn. The drop in temperature was a jarring reminder that winter would soon be upon its residents. It was also the night before Halloween, October 30th. Family members gathered together for the weekend, including newly engaged Olivia Pszeniczny and her fiancé, Jordan White. Olivia proudly wore the token of her marriage commitment, a one-of-a-kind rose-gold ring with a sunburst of diamonds radiating from its center stone. She pinched the ring often and spun it around her finger as though doing so would magically speed up their wedding day.

It was late in the evening when they disbursed. Olivia and Jordon walked together with other family members towards their car in the darkness. As they cut across the empty lot, Olivia’s ring suddenly slipped off her finger in the cold, disappearing into the tall grass. Horrified, she immediately dropped to her knees and began feeling for the ring in the darkness. Others soon joined the search. Flashlights appeared. Finally, the cold and darkness militated against all their efforts and the decision was made to resume looking the next day.

Someone placed marker flags in the general area to serve as a guide. At one point, half a dozen people raked and fingered through the grass on their knees. But the precious ring eluded these efforts. A metal detector was even purchased. Surely this would be the tool that would bring Olivia’s ring back to the light of day! But hope turned to disappointment when the machine was overwhelmed by all the iron in the ground. The empty lot had previously served as a dumping ground for construction debris.

My phone rang early in the afternoon, Halloween night. Would I come and assist? I had family supper commitments but arranged to meet the Thorns on location early in the evening. When I arrived, Wendy met me and together we viewed the search area with all its marker flags. I listened carefully while she explained the chronology of events. Piles of raked grass bore testimony to many hours spent scouring the ground. The team had sure worked hard. They were also extremely thorough.

This thoroughness prompted me to search outside the marked area even though the narrative seemed to indicate Olivia was within the flagged boundary when the ring came off her hand.

The sun had just dipped below the horizon. This, coupled with the wind, sent the temperatures plummeting. “I should have brought my gloves,” I thought to myself. But then I turned my full attention to the myriad of signals emitting from my XP Deus High-Frequency search coil. The ground was loaded with iron. This was concerning because iron can mask precious non-ferrous signals, the kind that gold produces. Concentrating on the numbers and depth readings, I abruptly encountered a signal that invited further investigation. The grass was quite long and even after brushing it backwards and forwards in different directions, I was not able to see anything resembling a ring. But when I rechecked my signals and pinpointed the exact location, the bottom of the ring suddenly appeared! Funny, the icy cold suddenly disappeared at the same time!

I took a photo of the spot before touching the ring, evidence of how well it was camouflaged in the grass. Then I went to Tim and Wendy’s home and knocked on their door under pretense of needing to ask more questions. When Jordan appeared, I presented the ring and said, “I’m thinking this is the ring you all have been looking for!” The heaviness that was so apparent in the eyes and voices of the family only a half hour before, lifted immediately! I received hugs, then more hugs.

Olivia soon arrived and I was the recipient of yet another giant hug amidst tears of joy and gratitude! And the smile on her face tells the rest of the story!

This family certainly did everything possible to find the ring. I was very impressed with their efforts, even down to buying a metal detector. In the end, it was a matter of experience and the benefit of a fresh pair of eyes on the situation that contributed to a successful recovery.

Thank you, Timothy, Wendy, Olivia and Jordan, for a most-memorable story. This is my 76th recovery since coming to Wisconsin. But it sets a record for the number of hugs I’ve received! May the story of Olivia’s ring continue for many, many happy years. And what a gorgeous ring it is!

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