BRIAN RUDOLPH, LOST ITEM RECOVERY SPECIALIST (LAND, WATER, SAND, HOUSES & VEHICLES) WILL FIND YOUR LOST KEEPSAKE! CALL ASAP (301) 466-8644!
I received an email from a young lady named Hannah who contacted me from Williamsport, Maryland. She was desperate to recover her 14 karat white gold 2 karat diamond engagement ring which had gone missing three days earlier. Hannah was so upset about losing the ring that she couldn’t sleep for days and she lost her appetite to eat. Upon her reading my enthusiastic email in wanting to help Hannah find her missing ring, she typed this:
“You’re literally an angel…Thank you for doing this!! I really hope we can get my ring back. I have been sick over this ever since I lost it.”
Hannah remembered that she went to bed with the ring on her finger. Then, the next morning she hung out on the couch for three hours watching TV before going outside to do yard work. The young lady was accompanied by her fiancé and future father-in-law. All of them worked on raking leaves, loading the piles into a pickup truck, and then dumping the leaves into the woods beyond the backyard lawn.
After a number of hours working outside, Hannah realized that her beautiful engagement ring was no longer on her finger. She was bewildered, not having a clue as to when her beloved ring disappeared and where it ended up. The whole family started searching (even on their hands and knees as they sifted through leaves and dirt) for the missing ring, but nobody could find it. Her future mother-in-law lent a hand in the search efforts along with another friend or two. Unfortunately, all of their attempts to recover the ring led to no avail. No one was able to find the ring.
Hannah shared with me that the ring was a bit loose, which most likely contributed to why the ring fell off her finger. It was also chilly outside and that didn’t help matters with shrinking her finger a bit. In addition, any type of manual labor certainly will complicate matters with the constant thrusting motion of the hand. Her fiancé Levi was determined to do everything possible to recover the missing ring. He contacted his friend from work who owned a metal detector and the two of them searched the entire property for many hours. Another friend of the co-worker also came along and he searched with a second metal detector, as well. But still no engagement ring was ever found. Initially, six or seven hours of detecting went into the search efforts. Then, on Day 2, Levi’s friend returned again, but he still had no luck. Once the co-worker gave up, Hannah’s husband-to-be continued metal detecting that day into Day 3, but that mission failed, as well.
After everyone’s recovery efforts were exhausted, Hannah and Levi sought help online and they discovered THE RING FINDERS website! They searched for a metal detecting service in Williamsport, Maryland and my name, Brian Rudolph, popped up! Next, they sent me an email requesting my help. I immediately responded to Hannah’s email, and happily shared that I would be more than excited to help in the recovery efforts to get that engagement ring back on her finger as soon as possible! We set up a time for me to come out on a Friday morning which would be four days later. Levi would continue to search for the ring during the week and we agreed that he would let me know if he found it. Unfortunately, he still could not find the ring with the metal detector that he borrowed from his co-worker. Then, the night before I was scheduled to search for the ring, I confirmed with the couple that I would be arriving in the morning and we set up a time to start the search.
I recall driving to Williamsport, Maryland with a cheerful smile on my face as I had fun gazing at the beautiful countryside that I was passing through. I would end up driving by some old towns and several farms along the way, and I enjoyed every moment of the journey. I arrived at 9:30 a.m..
I couldn’t wait to start the search and solve this mystery of the disappearance of Hannah’s lovely engagement ring. The white gold band had a very large 2 karat diamond in the center surrounded by multiple diamonds on each side. It was exquisite. I was told that the ring was presented to Hannah while the couple traveled abroad a few months earler. The proposal took place on an old romantic bridge at the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. So, if one does the math, the ring had not been on the bride-to-be’s finger for very long at the time that it went missing. In addition to that disappointment, she was looking forward to wearing the “ice” the day after my search during her wedding dress fittings. So, not only was I trying to recover the ring to continue the beautiful proposal story, but also, Hannah wanted to include the diamond ring in her pre-wedding story with the fitting of her gown the next day. I won’t say that I felt pressure in finding the ring, but I did feel a sense of urgency and an extra bit of passion in my determination to find this lost friend in time for Hannah to have it on her finger for the wedding dress fitting! In fact, I gave Hannah my word that I would not leave their property until her ring was recovered!
Upon arriving, Hannah showed me the areas where she walked and worked outside on the day of the disappearance of the ring. She took me to the side yard just in front of the main side door entrance to their house. There was an area of grass in that region to check. Hannah showed me where she raked leaves in the front yard and then along the other side of the house. We then headed to patches of lawn on the other side of the driveway. Next, we then toured the back of the house. Hannah continued to show me all of the possible places that the ring could have disappeared, including areas located in the woods where the family members were throwing piles of leaves from her future father-in-law’s pickup truck which he backed up to the edge of the grassy lawn.
I reviewed with Hannah all of the possibilities of what happened to the ring and where it may have ended up. This included the need to check Hannah’s car (she recalled having to do an errand that afternoon) and inside the couple’s house (I concluded this because Hannah could not remember wearing the ring on her finger after getting off of the couch to go outside and help with the yard work). The last time she remembered wearing the ring was when she went to bed with it the night before she had done the yard work (now a week had passed since the time that she had lost her ring). Unfortunately, Hannah had no recollection of wearing the ring after she woke up. Therefore, I needed to search in all of the possible locations that we reviewed.
Once we finished going over all of the possibilities as to where Hannah may have lost her priceless ring, the most logical place to start the search was in her car. It would take minutes for me to search every crevice and corner with my endoscope. If it was found there, it would save me hours of detecting elsewhere! Unfortunately, the beautiful keepsake was not to be found in the vehicle and so I eliminated that possibility from the get-go! Next, I needed to take the search inside the home. Hannah and Levi agreed with my plan. So, I bundled up my in-house recovery gear and I headed inside for me to start the second leg of my search for the missing ring.
After spending about an hour and a half searching for the ring in the bedroom, bathroom, dining room, kitchen, hallway, and vestibule areas, the last area inside the house to investigate was the living room. I used my endoscope again in order to view and record video of all of the inner parts of the sofa to see if the ring had slipped off of Hannah’s finger while she was watching television on the couch. Once again, I did not locate the ring, which made me conclude that the keepsake was most likely out on the lawn or in the woods somewhere. There were no leaves bagged up to be recycled, and I requested that the couple not throw away any of their garbage until I inspected it. This reassured me that the ring was still somewhere on their property, waiting to be found.
When I knew that the ring was not in the home, I returned to my car and got out all of my metal detecting equipment to gear up and start searching for the ring outside. Hannah had been working outside in multiple locations on her property, including the sides of the driveway. Therefore, there were all kinds of places that needed to be metal detected to assure that we were not missing any spots where the ring could have ended up.
I was shown an area in the left side corner of the backyard that was adjacent to the neighbor’s yard where Hannah remembered throwing some sticks on the day of the disappearance of her ring. I detected that whole section but nothing turned up but miscellaneous aluminum items. It took a while to clear that area because I was metal detecting under all kinds of tree branches, as well as getting electrical interference from power lines that were under the ground. I then moved my way towards the woods where the leaves were thrown from the truck. Before I searched beyond the backyard lawn, I metal detected several tall leaf piles that were raked up along the left and right sides of the path leading into the woods. That took a long time to level out the piles so that I could detect the leaves properly in order to reach maximum depths with my machine. Nothing worth mentioning was found in the midst of those piles of leaves.
Once I started my way into the woods where the leaves were thrown from the truck, I detected all kinds of metal objects that were scattered about, but I couldn’t detect the ring that we were looking for. There was a lot of little pieces of aluminum that were intermingled with old leaves and new piles of fallen ones, as well. There also was plenty of metal objects buried down in the dirt below the leaves. So, I knew at that point, it was not the time to go through every inch of that area until I first concluded that the ring was not hidden in the front of the house or on the backyard lawn. Metal detecting in the woods would require a lot of extra effort of pulling up one piece of metal at a time to eliminate every possibility that the ring was not in that particular spot. I decided that I would come back to that location if everything else failed.
Next, I skipped the lawn in the backyard for the time being and proceeded to the area of lawn near the couple’s side door (which was their primary entrance). After completing that section, it was clear that there was no ring to be found. Hannah shared that she had been working in the bushes on the day she lost the ring. So, when it was time to detect the front lawn, I carefully inspected all of the front hedges and made sure that the ring had not ended up in the middle of the bushes or underneath them. Then, when I concluded that the piece of jewelry was not lost in that section, I started metal detecting the entire front yard. Gridding from north to south and then from east to west, I was able to eliminate any possibility that the ring was lost on the front lawn and on the right side of the house, as well. White gold is tricky and you must go slow and use high sensitivity on your metal detector because you can easily miss it if you swing the coil too quickly over the target that you’re looking for. There was no ring to be found at this point.
Next, I metal detected the hill that was in front of the yard that dipped down where it met the edge of the street. All of that area was clear of any jewelry. Then, I checked along the hillside that was adjacent to the driveway, but I still found no ring in that location either. The last part of the front of the property that I could check was the opposite side of the driveway where there was a strip of land that separated the neighbors yard from Hannah and Levi’s yard. Unfortunately, there was no ring found there, as well. I followed that section all the way to the bottom of the driveway, but Hannah obviously did not lose her ring when she was raking leaves on that side either.
It was now time to hit the backyard and do a grid search over the entire lawn. From what Hannah told me, she never walked over to one particular side of the property in the backyard. However, I still wanted to make certain that the ring was not anywhere in that region, just in case she didn’t remember raking or walking over there at some point. With many of my searches, I find out much later that someone didn’t remember walking or working in a certain area where the ring ended up falling off their finger!
I worked hard and for a very long time metal detecting every inch of that backyard just to make certain that I didn’t miss the engagement ring. By the time I finished gridding that section, I was pretty convinced that it was not on the grassy lawn back there.
Throughout the search day, as Levi and Hannah were coming and going, I would give them updates and encourage them not to give up as I still had not found the missing ring. Yet, I would keep telling them that I was determined to locate Hannah’s beloved rock and get it back on her finger for the next day’s wedding dress event. She was so stressed by the whole situation that she headed out to the movie theater just to get her mind off of the missing ring story. She was so afraid that it was gone forever and that the gorgeous ring that Levi proposed to her with would never be seen again. I hoped so much to give a happy ending to the lost ring story!
By the time I finished searching the back lawn, I had been working for over 8 hours on their property. This included the hour and a half search inside the house. Night had fallen, the temperature outside was getting pretty cold, and I was physically wiped out. The best thing for me to do at that point was to take a break and get something to eat in town. Hannah was still away and so I talked with Levi and let him know that I would be leaving the property for awhile. Then, I would return to their place and resume the search.
As I put my metal detector, headphones, harness, gloves and headlamp back in the car, I could still hear the words in my head that were shared by Hannah and Levi’s next-door neighbor who was observing me earlier in the afternoon:
He said to me, “If the young lady lost anything out in the woods when they were throwing all those leaves back there, she will never see that thing ever again! There’s so much metal back there that was dumped over many decades before they bought their property. If it ended up back there, they will never see it ever again. It’s a million to one chance of her ever getting it back.”
I told the old fellow that I had seen miracles happen with my metal detecting and that everything is possible for him who believes in God who helps us through these very difficult situations. I told him that God loves the covenant of marriage and the ring represents the promise of commitment to the other person. So I told him that if it’s there, I know I can find it with God’s help!
In all honesty, I was steadfast in my words with what I told the gentleman. But, because I knew how much metal was back in the woods and how high the leaf piles were, his words were messing with my mind from time to time throughout the search. Words are powerful and that’s why we all need to keep listening to the positive and not focus on the impossibilities of our dire situations. I determined within to fight on and to somehow pull that ring from the property upon my return.
By the time I arrived back at the property, it was around 7:30 p.m.. Earlier, I was so burned out and hungry that I ended up taking way more time away than expected. Immediately, I gathered up my outside night gear and strategized my next search method. I decided to switch metal detectors and use one that had a smaller coil at the bottom of the shaft. This helps to detect for small objects, like a ring, in the midst of a debris field of other pieces of metal. I needed to isolate each hit of metal and find some type of clarity in the signals while observing the target below me. It was the only way that I would be able to determine if Hannah’s ring was out in the woods or not.
By this point in the evening, it was very cold outside. I made sure that I put on several layers and that I was wearing the best of the best in frigid temperature attire. Into the night with my headlamp, gloves and hat on, I made my way back into the woods, hoping that this was the location of where Hannah lost her beloved engagement ring. As I started metal detecting, I did notice that the 6” sniper coil was working effectively and I was able to zero in on individual targets rather than my earlier experience with problems interpreting the detector’s readings due to picking up several metal objects clustered near each other in the leaves and under the dirt.
I went from metal object to metal object pulling each target from the leaves. In some cases I would find out that the object was below ground, which I then had to pull the item so that it would not interfere with detecting other objects that I was checking into. I moved slowly down the path, farther into the woods. Every time I was getting a good signal, the target would end up being a small piece of aluminum or some type of wrapper which had aluminum foil on it. I would also find scattered about old broken pieces of household items. It was by far the toughest part of my long search with all of the scrap metal hanging out everywhere below the surface.
I was looking for metal that would give me low numbers on my detector screen; ones that would fluctuate between 4 and 5 and then jump up to maybe 6, 8 and 11. We were dealing with trying to find a lady’s white gold ring which is so much more difficult to detect, depending on how the ring was positioned in the leaves and dirt. Inch by inch and foot by foot, I made my way slowly farther into the woods, carefully detecting all of the possible locations of where the ring may have flown when Hannah was throwing leaves into the woods from the back of the pickup truck. This was my very last location for the day because there was no point in me retracing my steps in the other places that I had already detected. It was getting late and I knew this was the last leg for this particular trip. Hannah had already returned home some time back and had turned in for the night while Levi stayed up and watched television in the living room. I wanted to give this couple something to rise up to later that night!
After about an hour or so. I had eliminated quite a few spots where there were plenty of pieces of metal that were coming up in the range of what could possibly be Hannah’s ring. Unfortunately, none of them panned out. However, my “strike-outs” were about to finally change! As I moved the metal detector over a particular spot that was covered with leaves and dirt, I got a signal that was worth looking into. At that spot I was pulling up pieces of metal and rope that were buried in the ground around this particular object. I wasn’t sure if it was all one piece of metal or not. But, after removing one round shaped metallic object along with some more of the rope that was mixed up in the leaves and dirt, I was still getting a target signal, though very choppy sounding. I actually was just about to skip over it and keep moving down the gradual slope that took me farther into the woods, but I hesitated, and then stopped. I wanted to make sure that the target was not the missing ring (even though the signal was so choppy and seemingly insignificant to my search). So, I stayed right where I was detecting moments earlier and continued to move the coil over the location where I was getting that questionable hit. Once I got a pretty good fix on where the target was hidden, I took out my pinpointer and immediately identified the spot where I needed to reveal the object. For a slight second I saw something surface just before it ended up getting covered again in the leaves. It looked circular and silver in color. I thought I had found a lady’s hoop earring just from the initial angle that the object was leaning on. But, as I used my hands to sift through the leaves and dirt, I almost couldn’t believe what I saw popping out from beneath all of the leaves and debris. It was no earring! It was Hannah’s white gold engagement ring with the largest diamond on top surrounded by diamonds along the sides! Wow! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Because of the hour of night and how cold it was, everything was so depressing and dreary looking back there, with all of the leaves and dirt and the various little objects of metal and trash that I had come across since moving my way into the woods. And now, truly, a spectacular sight had emerged from the rough and darkness! It was like I was having a dream!
All of those hours of detecting in the car, in the house, in the corner of the backyard, in the huge leaf piles, in the woods, in the area near the side entrance, in the front yard, in the backyard, and then again for the second time in the woods…and finally…I found it! Finally! It was as if the moment wasn’t really happening! It was so surreal! I promised Hannah that I wouldn’t leave their property until I found her ring, and I delivered! For a metal detectorist who is searching for something lost, when that object is found there is such a feeling of relief and conclusion, knowing that you don’t have to keep looking any longer! It’s that wonderful feeling of knowing that you can return something so precious and important back to the rightful owner who is feeling like they will never see their keepsake ever again! And in many cases they would not have ever seen the item ever again had it not been found at that time of the search. None of the other metal detectorists, including Levi, were able to find it even after a week of searching. I was able to come into the situation and pull this most precious keepsake from the woods that was surrounded by so much metallic interference! I was so elated at that moment! I could not wait to reveal my findings with Hannah and Levi! The VDI numbers that were on my Equinox 800 screen were coming up just like I was expecting for this 14 karat white gold ring. The numbers were around 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 11. It was approximately buried about 4 to 6 inches below the surface in a pile of leaves and dirt. What made it extremely difficult to recover was the fact that it was mixed with other pieces of metal which were apparently masking the precious metal that I was seeking after. This is probably why none of the other fellows were able to find the gem because there was just too much confusion in the ground at that particular spot, with so many other pieces of metal surrounding the ring.
My search was complete! I was beyond excited at that moment when I found Hannah’s ring! She would be able to wear the ring (cautiously, of course, because it needed to be resized) for tomorrow’s wedding dress fittings which she wanted to make so very special in having the engagement ring with her throughout the day!
After leaving the woods to return some of my gear to the car, I prepared for a wonderful ring reveal in sharing the awesome news with Hannah and Levi! The entire search took approximately ten hours, plus a two hour break! It is always worth the work to see the tears of joy and the shining smiles that I put on people’s faces like Hannah’s and Levi’s! Believe me, it was well worth it all!
“I have nothing but great things to say about our ring finder, Brian! I emailed him while practically in tears at work a few days after I had lost my beloved engagement ring. He promptly responded and we spoke on the phone on my way home from work. He was so energetic and confident that he would find my ring despite the fact that we had already had 2 other people (in addition to my husband) metal detect our property and had multiple family members on their hands and knees sifting through leaves and dirt to find my ring. To be honest, I didn’t think Brian would find it but I wanted someone with more experience with searching for engagement rings to give it a try before I completely lost hope. I wasn’t eating or sleeping and I was in tears every day over losing my ring. Brian assured me that he wouldn’t leave until the ring was found and to my surprise he found it after 12 hours of searching! It is apparent that Brian is passionate and determined in finding lost rings for people. Because of his determination, skills and optimism I get to continue to wear the gorgeous ring that my fiance’ proposed to me at the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany! Thank you Brian, you’re truly a good person for devoting your time and energy to finding rings for others!”
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