Rob Ellis: Underwater Ring Recovery Specialist. Call or text 703-598-1435
June 7th, 2020 James River, Midlothian (Richmond), Virginia
Jake was paddle boarding off of his neighborhood dock when his gold wedding band slipped off. He called me and we set a date to search. My wife, son, and I met Jake and he took us to the dock. As you can see from the photos, it was a beautiful day for a search.
Trail to Dock
The depth was about 10 feet with visibility from zero to five feet. After discussing the variables with my shore crew, I decided to use a circle search reel of my own design. There were some sunken logs and debris entangled with fishing line and hooks. This complicated the search. After about 45 minutes, I got a signal on my safety line to surface from my dive master. After some more discussions with Jake, she recommended I shift my search area about 40 feet upriver. It’s a good thing since that is where I found the ring!
Emily’s 14 Karat White Gold Engagement Ring with Opal Stone and Diamonds
Emily’s 14 Karat White Gold Nesting Band with Diamonds
After a Week at the Bottom of Frederick Maryand’s Monocacy River, Emily’s Beloved Engagement Ring Set was Found and Returned to the Bride-To-Be by Metal Detectorist and Ring Finder, Brian Rudolph!
Emily and Mark Excitedly Show Off the Bride-To-Be’s Beloved Engagement Ring Set That Was Thought to Be Lost in the Monocacy River Forever!
CALL BRIAN RUDOLPH WITH THE RING FINDERS AT (301) 466-8644 AND HE WILL RETURN TO YOU WHAT HAS BEEN LOST!
Emily and Mark got together with a bunch of their friends and headed off to a fun swimming hole near Frederick, Maryland on the Monocacy River, located not far from Monocacy National Battlefield. It was a hot summer day outside, perfect for couples to hang out, take a plunge in the river and make a fun-filled day outside. Unfortunately, their plans started to fall apart quite quickly when Emily’s two rings went missing some time while they were all out by the water. She was pretty convinced that she lost the rings during the 30 minutes of play time in the river with her fiancé. Mark was holding her up while she was lying in his arms in the river, and she believed it was probably at that point when the rings slipped off her finger. Emily didn’t feel the jewelry come off of her finger, but she believed that it was the most probable scenario that the water had something to do with how the rings fell off of her finger.
In Emily’s moment of panic, as she came out of the water, the young lady told the rest of the group what had happened. Immediately a search began to look for the rings out on the riverbank and in the shallow parts of the water where they could see all the way to the bottom. One of the rings that went missing was Emily’s engagement ring. It was made of 14 karat white gold, centered with a lovely opal stone and accompanied by several diamonds surrounding it. The other ring was part of the engagement ring set, a 14 karat white gold nesting band, very petite in size which held three small diamonds along the top of the ring. The sad part of the whole ordeal was that Emily had just received these precious keepsakes on the day that she was proposed to only a month or so earlier (Her wedding date is scheduled for September 2020!).
The fact that the bride-to-be lost both of her rings was very difficult for her to deal with and you can imagine how upset she was for the rest of that day (and for the next week, as well). Everyone kept searching in the water to see if they could spot the rings, but nothing was found. As the group made their way into the deeper area of the river, there was just no way to see that far down in the water where Emily believed the rings may have come off. Besides the loss of her jewelry, the worst part of her afternoon came when she had to leave the river empty-handed.
The couple was desperate to see what they could do to get the newly engaged lady’s rings back. Emily was not about to give up hope yet, and that hope was about to be called by Mark’s future bride! They looked online to find tips on how to pull a ring from a river, and The Ring Finders directory popped up on Google. Emily immediately contacted me and before long we were talking on the phone to make plans for a recovery effort.
I put Emily at ease by telling her that I had successful recovery stories dealing with finding rings in water. Some people told her that the rings most likely had been washed down river which would make it impossible for them to ever be found again. However, I assured her that those rings did not go anywhere after they fell to the bottom of the water. She was relieved at my words.
Once I received all of the details about the missing engagement band set, I asked her additional questions to help me get the entire picture of what we were dealing with. Because she lost the rings at a state park, I told her that I would need to pursue special permissions from the park service in order for me to conduct a recovery mission. She had lost the rings on a Friday, I believe, and then she first contacted me the following day or so. Therefore, I would have to wait another 24 hours before I could contact the park service to request a permit to search the river on Emily and Mark’s behalf. When we got off the phone, we had a plan in place to begin the process of getting me in the Monocacy River as fast as possible!
Monday came and I was on the phone calling various departments connected to Maryland’s state park service. I was initially bounced around between the county of Frederick and the Maryland park service. But, eventually I was able to talk to the right people who set me up with a top administrator who could affirm that I was talking to the correct people to pursue a permit for Emily and Mark. One employee at the park service referred me to a website where I could apply for special permissions to search the water. Metal detectors are strictly prohibited at this particular park as most state parks prohibit the use of any detector. What was supposed to take possibly up to two weeks or more to “hopefully” get a permit request approved, I was able to get an official permit in hand within three days of filling out the paperwork! I was granted full access to the river! Thanks to the hard work of a couple of top administrators at the park service, they were able to push the paper and “cut the red tape” a whole lot faster than the usual process! I was quite excited with the news that I was free to search the water much sooner than later! Though I was only given a specific period of time that I could search the river and after that I would not be able to continue any futures searches, I felt I had a large enough window to get the job done (if the rings were not already plucked out of the water by other metal detectorists).
Every day leading up to when I received the approval to search the river, I kept giving updates to Emily who greatly appreciated all of my efforts. I was delighted to help the couple in every way possible! The next step was to schedule a time to meet Emily and Mark over by the park where the rings went missing the week before. I looked at my calendar and set up the next possible timeslot when I could conduct the search. I needed them to show me where everyone was hanging out on that dreadful afternoon when the rings left Emily’s finger. Then, I could search all of the probable locations where the engagement ring and nesting band fell to the bottom of the Monocacy. We agreed on meeting that Friday, which was the Friday following Mark and Emily’s excursion when the initial happy and fun afternoon suddenly turned so very sad and disappointing for the couple.
Friday arrived and I headed to the Monocacy River to meet Emily in the park where the rings went missing. Mark was not able to join us due to his work schedule. We met in the park parking lot and then Emily walked me to the spot where the group of friends were all hanging out the week earlier. It was a considerable journey through the woods alongside the riverbank before we got to the place where she lost the rings. When we got to the spot where everyone went swimming that day, we walked down onto the riverbank where there were lots of stones and pebbles – perfect for keeping my gear dry above the water.
Frederick Maryland’s Monocacy River
Emily then showed me where she played in the water and where she and Mark drifted downriver approximately 50 yards or so. She had an idea of where she thought she may have held onto some rocks as the water current was taking Mark and Emily downriver. She thought that maybe the rings slipped off when she was trying to brace herself at that time. Emily couldn’t be certain of her predictions because there were times when she was just floating in the water and the rings could have slipped off at any of those moments. In any case, I was given a very good picture of how things looked on the day that the rings disappeared and I then had all of the parameters to work with as to where the rings may have settled to the bottom of the river.
The water depth was probably around two and a half feet to three feet deep closer to the middle of the river and maybe higher in a few other spots. It was very shallow due to the fact that we had gotten so little rain in the weeks leading up to the search. Though most of my body was above the water, the current was quite swift so I did have some opposition from the speed by which the water was traveling. The terrain at the bottom of the river also made the search more complicated because of how difficult it was to move about without tripping over a rock or small boulder.
My search grid would involve a 50 yard area from left to right (down river) and 30 yards from one side of the river to the other side (though Emily and I agreed that I only needed to search 20 yards from our side of the Monocacy riverbed out towards the middle of the river because she didn’t float close to the opposite end of the riverbank). Once we finished going over all of the details, I headed back to the car to put on the rest of my wetsuit and gather all of my gear so I could soon begin the search for Emily’s missing rings!
Emily wasn’t sure if she would ever get her rings back, but I kept telling her that all things are possible if she would keep believing the positive and not doubt. I shared with her that in life, we must doubt our feelings of doubt and believe the impossible can happen. The Bible says, “Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23). Yes, it was a large area to search. Yes, it is hard enough to metal detect that amount of space on land, let alone the degree of difficulty in searching a moving body of water like the Monocacy. Yet, I was determined to find Emily’s lost rings. And I didn’t just want to return to her the opal engagement ring, but also the other white gold band, as well! Before I headed out into the water, I prayed that the Lord would favor my search and to give Emily some hope inside to believe for the impossible! God loves the covenant of marriage, as He created it, and her engagement ring was a symbol of promise (betrothal) unto marriage! Therefore, I always know that I have favor from above when searching for lost engagement rings and wedding bands!
Emily’s Rings Lost Somewhere in the Historical Monocacy River
As Emily hung out on the shore, reading and doing some work on her tablet, I began my hunt for the missing rings. Because the items were very petite in size and made of 14 karat white gold, picking up the target signals on the detector would not be easy. Having a small, white gold object lost at the bottom of a body of water is not a good combination. The signals are light and very difficult to hit effectively, especially if you swing the metal detector coil too fast. Every step taken and every decision made out in the river had to be slow and very methodical in the way that I conducted this search.
My first grid was about 20 yards downstream, starting where Emily pointed out the first hotspot to investigate. There were rocks of various sizes covering the bottom of the river and there was nothing but stones in between the larger formations. Not only did I have to metal detect over and around and underneath all of those obstacles, but I would have to deal with many pieces of garbage that were discarded in the water over a long period of time. I found old beer can pop tops along with torn up cans, miscellaneous pieces of aluminum and much more throw-away items of trash. I would end up using two of my Equinox 800 machines with two different size coils. I used a 6 inch coil and an 11 inch coil as well. The smaller coil was helpful to get around some of the larger rocks and downed trees. The larger one was helpful to cover more territory in the river, as long as I wasn’t slowed down by metal trash that was settled close to other pieces of garbage at the bottom of the water.
I believe Emily hung out for a couple of hours before she needed to pack up her things and head on out. She kept a great attitude even though I had not yet found her rings. By the time she started walking back to the car. I told her from the water that I would be relentless in my search in finding what had been lost. Just before she took off, I asked Emily where Mark proposed to her with the rings.I wanted to get the whole story behind these precious pieces of jewelry that became extremely sentimental on the day of the proposal! Everything about the location of where Mark popped the question and how he proposed to Mark was absolutely beautiful and so fairytale like. This only propelled me even more to do whatever necessary to get these rings back on her finger! We said our goodbyes and I assured her that I would give Emily an update upon leaving the park.
If one were to observe the amount of territory that I had to search in this historical river, it would only emit stress on that person and bring lots of second-guessing to the mind based on the difficulty of finding such petite pieces of white gold at the bottom of the water. There were so many places that the bands could have ended up. There weren’t any clues to go by as to whether the rings came off at the same time, or if one came off in one location and then the other slipped off sometime later. Honestly, I loved the challenge and I was just so happy to give it my all in attempting to return these sentimental pieces back to Emily.
The main strategy that I implemented was to continue searching all of the hotspot locations where Emily may have lost the rings and focus my efforts on gridding each pass, heading downriver and then back up the river, approximately a distance of 20 feet for each pass. The width of the grid parameter was probably around 20 yards left to right.
While I was out there in the middle of the river, I couldn’t help but be so grateful for the beautiful weather that I was experiencing. It was warm outside, with no chance of rain in the forecast. To be surrounded by such amazing creations of God, there was just nothing like it! Then, add to the experience the whole idea of searching for lost items that mean so very much to another human being, it makes life so fulfilling and fun!
I had given myself a good five or six hour window to search the river that day. Afterwards, I would need to head north to Pennsylvania, near historical Gettysburg for a wedding that I was attending. I had been invited by a grateful couple that I helped in recovering the bride-to-be’s engagement ring that was lost 40 yards out in the Atlantic Ocean just two weeks before the wedding! She lost the ring on her bachelorette party weekend! I was quite honored to be a part of the festivities! It was kind of special that at one point in the day I was searching for a bride-to-be’s engagement ring set, and then later that night I would be celebrating the wedding of a bride who would be wearing the ring that I was able to return to her from the depths of the ocean! I thought that it would make an even more enchanting story if I was able to recover Emily’s rings before having to continue north towards Pennsylvania that afternoon!
Four hours passed by and I continued my detecting efforts in the water for the missing rings. Each time I covered a section of the river, I was only encouraged that I had eliminated more possibilities as to where the jewelry could have ended up. I had not lost any of my drive and enthusiasm for finding Emily’s rings. I kept swinging my detector in straight lines going up and down the river and then side to side. I was continuing to cover a distance of about 20 yards wide and search in 20 yard sections of the entire 50 yards, up and down the river.
At some point, I was finishing one of my grid passes when I hit a signal that was in the range of Emily’s lost rings. This was not the first time that day that I had gotten other potential targets to check out. In fact, I had plenty of them. In those first many hours of searching, I consistently pulled pieces of trash out of the water, but no rings had been found. This current signal was yet another one that I needed to check out. I knew the exact range of VDI numbers (these are numbers that help to identify the type of metal the target could potentially be) to look for on my machine and this piece of metal was showing the kind of target that got me curious! The numbers on my Equinox 800 detector screen were dancing around a number: four, five, seven, nine, and I believe eleven, as well. I was looking for such low numbers on the scale of my detector and I knew that the signal that I wanted was not going to pound hard in the headphones. Rather, it was going to be light and questionable. These rings were very petite, and therefore there wasn’t a lot of white gold on them at all to be detected easily. Like I did with many other potential signals that day, I reached down into the water, right over the spot where my metal detector had picked up the signal, and I surveyed the metal object with my Garrett handheld detector called a “pinpointer” in order to isolate the location where the object was resting. Once I was confident of the exact area where I knew the object was hiding, I placed the handheld detector off to the side (which was attached to a cord and clipped to my harness belt), grabbed a cluster of stones and sediment in the vicinity of where the buried object was and brought it all up to the surface for review. I have to use this type of method in rivers because it is impossible to use a scoop in this type of environment due to the quantity of stones and rocks that are stuck to the bottom of the water. Therefore, I have to use my hands to bring up the objects that I am potentially looking for. Next, I grabbed my pinpointer again and scanned over the contents that were in my hand to see if I found the metal object that I had detected moments earlier. To my great surprise, my eyes first focused in on the loveliest opal stone, then some small diamonds surrounding it came into view, and finally I saw the white gold band! Indeed, I had found the engagement ring! It was a fantastic moment! In this vast area of water, I had recovered this small precious keepsake! Like a needle in a haystack!
Though I had nobody around to share the excitement with, I expressed all of my joy and happiness into my GoPro video camera that I had been using to document the entire search up to that point! I gave thanks to the Lord for giving me the ability to find the ring and bring it up from the river where it had been resting at the bottom for over a week! I was thrilled at finding the band! Between the two rings, this one was the most important one to Emily because it was her engagement ring. Yet, I was not going to stop at that point. I would continue searching for the nesting band once I secured the recently found item in my zipped up case attached to my metal detector harness. I made sure that Emily’s opal ring was not going to be lost again in that river!
Discovering one of the sought-after pieces that went missing was such a boost of encouragement to me! My search methods that day were working effectively! So far, I had not believed that I had overlooked either target that I was after! Could I have missed the other ring due to it consisting of a thin band of white gold? It was possible. But, I kept my mindset on believing that I was thorough and accurate in my grid moves. When one is detecting in water, there are no cones or tape to keep you walking in a straight line! You have to be extremely careful not to move too far to the right or to the left, or sweep too short on either side of your body as you move forward with the detector.
Once I found the first of the two lovely rings, I was back at it again, searching for the second one, which was even thinner than the engagement ring. I had barely gotten a decent signal off of the last ring and so I was confident that this one would be even harder to recover. I believe I had another 30 minutes or so for me to try to strike gold, but at the conclusion of that search day I was unable to walk out of the river with both rings. I had no time left and it was imperative that I got on the road and start heading towards Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the wedding that would take place later that evening.
Before I made my way out of the river, I took note of where I had found the first ring and I would resume my search the following day. How could I have not been pleased with the results so far? I was able to recover half of what I was sent out to help with and there was still more work to be done! I walked out of the water and gathered up my gear and returned back to the parking lot, packed my things in the car, changed out of my wetsuit and then headed north.
During the whole drive to the hotel, I couldn’t stop thinking about how blessed I was to recover the engagement ring! I couldn’t wait to get back in the water and search for the nesting band! In keeping my word to Emily, I called her but I had to leave a voicemail message. I was vague about my search, hoping I could surprise her the next day with the news that I had found both rings, and not just the opal engagement ring. That was my hope!
The next morning, I left the hotel and drove south to Washington D.C.. I had received an urgent call from a desperate husband who shared that the day before his wife had lost her wedding band at the National Zoo. I immediately headed to the Nation’s Capital to help the couple out. Once I completed the search in D.C., I drove back north again, which was 45 minutes in the direction towards the Monocacy River.
Upon arrival, I once again setup all of my gear along the river bank and quickly made my way over to where I had found the engagement ring the day before. I knew the location because there was a particular formation of rocks along the side of the river, and I had lined up that formation with the place that I had found the first ring in the middle of the river. I knew that if I started walking from those rocks straight out into the middle of the river, I would end up at the location where I found the first ring. Secondly, I could feel a certain rock with my dive boots that was below the surface of the water and it was near that rock that I had found the engagement ring very close to that particular formation. From that point, I counted approximately 30 feet down the river and that was where I had finished my search the day before. I was now ready to begin the second chapter of my recovery efforts
For me, I love the thrill of the challenge to find what is not easily obtainable, especially out in the middle of a river. The current was much faster than the day before, so I needed to work smart and place my feet in certain positions where I would not lose my balance from the swift movement of the water. It was another lovely day outside and once again I could not ask for better weather conditions.
My strategy of the day was to not change anything with the way I searched the day before. I kept doing my grid lines with the same method that I had implemented on Friday and I worked my way farther down the river and then back up again, pushing my way against the stubborn water flow. Then, I would move back down the river and continued to do this in straight lines. Not knowing when the two rings came off of Emily’s finger, it led me to tighten up my mental focus. I had to tell myself that finding the other ring was obtainable just as I found the first one, even though it was a lot more petite and the gold was even thinner than the band of the first ring. I had no idea what the distance was between the first ring falling off and when the second one hit the bottom of the river. However, I wasn’t going to be intimidated by how much more territory needed to be detected!
Approximately 45 minutes into my second search that day, I had searched approximately 20 square yards of river from where I found the engagement ring. Like before, I moved the metal detector slowly so that I would not miss any potential signals that I might swing across. So far, all of the targets that I pulled out of the water that afternoon were small pieces of aluminum – still no ring to be found. At some point, as I continued down the river, slightly detecting to the right side of the water, I hit a signal that was extremely light and almost unrecognizable on my detector. I moved the coil back and forth a little bit more and I was still picking up this particular target that matched white gold. From certain angles I was not getting any reading on my detector screen, so I had to move the detector coil at different positions just to see if I was getting a false reading or not. The signal still showed up and that’s when I started getting more curious. Most detectorists would have moved right across that target because it really didn’t appear to contain much of any metal to consider pulling it up. Someone else would have mistaken it as a small piece of aluminum foil. Because I knew better with white gold targets, I was not about to pass it up. I took my pinpointer and placed it down into the water right over the spot where my detector coil was resting. Then, I removed the coil from the area and immediately the pinpointer found the metal object. The target was obviously just inches from where my hand was positioned! Also, I could tell that it was a small target by the way the tip of the pinpointer was sounding off. Next, I removed the pinpointer out of the way and quickly grabbed a handful of sediment and rocks where the target was resting. Bringing my handful of stones and sand up to the surface, I immediately scanned the contents for the mysterious metal object. I believe that my first attempt came up with nothing and so I repeated the steps over again until I was certain that this time I hadn’t left the item at the bottom of the river.
I once again used my pinpointer to detect the clump of stones and sediment that was in my hand, and finally the piece of metal was detected by the pinpointer! Whatever it was, I now had it inside my grip! I knew the object was very small because it was surprisingly hidden in the midst of all of the river stones and sediment. I moved my finger through the items and it was then that I saw it! It wasn’t a scrap piece of aluminum from a drinking can, nor was it part of an old used ketchup packet or flimsy milk peel top! Not at all! It was a petite, white gold ring with a very thin band holding 3 small diamonds that were spread out along the top of the precious metal! I immediately knew that I had found the second missing ring because I recognized the details from a photo that Emily had previously provided for me! I did it! I found the nesting band that was part of the original engagement ring set! I could not have been more surprised by my findings based on how weak the target signal was! What an awesome moment!
Unless you are a ring finder like those found in The Ring Finders directory, it’s hard to describe the feeling inside when you discover the very object that you were on a mission to recover. When you find the sought-after keepsake that means so much to someone else, there’s almost a feeling of electricity that works through you! There’s such a rush within that excites all of one’s senses when the missing item is found and then returned to its owner! With search and recovery missions like this one, the degree of difficulty is so large that when one finds the lost property (like in the case of these two missing rings), there is just no greater feeling in the world! Taking on a challenge like this and being able to deliver to the distraught owner, not just one ring, but to find both rings in separate areas in the river, 20 yards apart, there are few words to accurately describe the entire experience!
Metal Detectorist, Brian Rudolph, Successfully Returned Both Rings to Emily and Mark! Call Brian Rudolph to Help You Find Your Lost Keepsakes at (301) 466-8644
I was so thrilled and overjoyed to find this second ring! I held up the nesting band and kissed it, yelling out loud, “Yes! I did it! I found it! Yes!” All kinds of words of excitement and relief flowed from within me, realizing at that moment that I was able to successfully fulfill this mission! I remember just standing there in the middle of the river, holding Emily’s ring in my hand, knowing at that point in time that there was nothing left to recover from the water! My search was over! It was extremely gratifying for me to leave the riverbank with my equipment in one hand and the recently discovered gold band that was zipped up in my harness case! I couldn’t wait to surprise Emily and her fiancé Mark with the good news! As I walked through the woods along the path leading back to the parking lot, I could see the river through the tree line, and I thought to myself, “I did it! I conquered the Monocacy!” At that moment I could only give thanks to the Lord for something as extraordinary as what had just taken place in the last 24 hours!
If you would like to see the video of me revealing the rings to Emily and Mark, please subscribe to the YouTube channel link provided below, and you will receive a notification when the video is uploaded in the next few months. It is worth waiting for! I promise!
Emily Couldn’t Have Been More Happy to Hold Her Missing Rings Once Again!
Emily and Mark were beyond excited to receive the missing rings back in their possession! My efforts to recover the special keepsakes in the Monocacy River were 100% successful and the couple was pleasantly shocked with surprise at the outcome! The look on their faces when I returned both rings will always be fixed in my mind! They were so happy and relieved at the sight of those beautiful bands that had disappeared below the water over a week earlier and located 45 minutes away from where Emily and Mark resided! Now, the engagement set was returned home for good! Emily’s finger was finally reunited with its newly found friends (the ring set), and together they now await the arrival of yet another ring this autumn…the wedding band!
CALL BRIAN RUDOLPH WITH THE RING FINDERS AT (301) 466-8644 AND HE WILL RETURN TO YOU WHAT HAS BEEN LOST!
SUBSCRIBE TODAY TO BRIAN’S SEARCH VIDEO YOUTUBE CHANNEL TO RECEIVE NOTIFICATIONS WHEN THIS LATEST SEARCH VIDEOIS UPLOADED! BRIAN’S SEARCH VIDEOS ARE FOUND ON HIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL – THE RING RETURNER.