Engagement Ring Lost on Christmas Eve…Found 1 Week Later in Gaithersburg, Maryland Cadillac Escalade
BRIAN RUDOLPH, LOST ITEM RECOVERY SPECIALIST (LAND, WATER, SAND, HOUSES & VEHICLES) WILL FIND YOUR LOST KEEPSAKE! CALL ASAP (301) 466-8644!
I will never forget the afternoon of December 30th, 2019 when I received a phone call from a young lady who was very upset about the loss of her 2.5 carat diamond solitaire engagement ring that had gone missing on Christmas Eve, six days prior. Evelyn found my contact information through THE RING FINDERS directory after googling “how to find a lost ring in a car”. She sounded extremely upset while declaring to me that I was her last hope with this final attempt to recover her most precious material possession, presumably lost in her Cadillac Escalade SUV. I listened to Evelyn as she shared what happened on that dreadful Christmas Eve when her ring suddenly went missing.
Evelyn, her husband Walter, and their little 2 year old daughter Camilla were starting to head home from Walter’s sister’s Christmas Eve party when Evelyn realized that her 18 karat white gold, 2.5 carat diamond engagement ring slipped off her finger as she was twirling it in the back seat. As soon as she felt the ring drop, she said, “Oh my gosh, my ring…” Then, she immediately looked down towards the carpet, assuming that she would spot the gem. However, it was nowhere in sight. In a state of panic, the worried wife exclaimed, “Oh my God, I lost my ring!” While Walter was driving their Escalade, Evelyn was sitting directly behind his driver’s seat and their daughter was securely fastened in her car seat over to the far right side. The two of them were separated by a middle seat section. Though Evelyn enjoyed a few drinks during the celebration with family and friends that night, she confidently remembered the ring being on her finger in the vehicle. The young lady was certain that the beloved keepsake slid off her finger while leaning forward towards her husband in order to share something with him just as they were leaving the parking lot of Walter’s sister’s house. Evelyn begged Walter to turn their Cadillac around and head back to the parking lot so they could search the vehicle. Walter figured that if his wife was so convinced that she lost the ring in the SUV, they could do the search upon arriving back at their place. So, that is exactly what took place next. They arrived back at their condominium and the couple did a thorough investigation during that cold holiday evening assuming they would find the missing ring.
Once their SUV was parked, Walter started searching everywhere in the vehicle. While he was looking under the front seats, Evelyn was crouched down in the back, searching on her hands and knees in front of the rear seats. With the bright phone light shining, Evelyn’s husband methodically searched in every crevice and every corner of the Escalade. She too used her phone light to illuminate the black plush carpet interior. Together, they checked their girl’s car seat thoroughly, but still no ring appeared. The last place that they needed to search was under and inside the rear seats where Evelyn and their daughter were fastened during their ride home. Unfortunately, the huge diamond keepsake was nowhere to be found. Sadly, all of their efforts led to no avail!
At this point, the couple felt it best to return to Walter’s sister’s place and check the parking lot and along the sidewalk leading from her sister-in-law’s front door all the way to where their Cadillac was previously parked. By now it was extremely late at night, or should I say, very early Christmas morning! It was cold and moods began to swing from happy holiday spirits to frustration, confusion and even suspicion.
When nothing turned up outside, it was time to start looking inside. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to knock on their sister’s door requesting to take their investigation inside the house where the party was still going on. They explained to their relatives and friends that perhaps there was a chance that the ring had fallen between the sofa cushions or slipped off into the garbage at some point during the evening. Walter and Evelyn’s biggest concern was that the ring ended up in somebody’s pocket. They were thinking that perhaps someone found the ring on the floor or on the sofa, and then the temptation came to steal it rather than to turn it in. They truly didn’t want to believe that this was a case of theft, but it certainly was a natural thought that anybody would have had. This worry was justified based on the fact that there were people at the party that they didn’t know and others that were not close to them. Obviously, they couldn’t come out and say anything to anybody, but it was certainly on their minds.
Prior to Walter and Evelyn returning to the party to check out their relative’s place, they had called over there to give the update about the missing ring. The guests took inventory of the house, and of course, nothing turned up prior to the couple’s arrival. The same results were concluded after Evelyn and Walter thoroughly searched inside. Then, reluctantly, they continued to look some more outside with their phone lights blazing in the wintry cold conditions and still nothing turned up. It was at this stage in the drama that they realized that they needed to get their daughter Camilla back to her own bed and call it quits for the night.
After the parents arrived back home, they tucked their child into bed and then continued their searched inside the Escalade one more time. The two of them were still bewildered as to what could have possibly happened to Evelyn’s most precious material possession. She was so very upset and could not stop testifying to the fact that she knew without a doubt that she saw the ring slip off her finger and fall towards the carpet. Walter just shook his head with disbelief because the “betrothal keepsake” was obviously not on the floor or anywhere else for that matter. Evelyn’s husband didn’t know what to think or what to do next. He tried not to believe that his wife had imagined the whole thing up, but his train of thought was heading more in that direction!
Evelyn could not shake off her conviction of what she remembered taking place in the Cadillac that night. She was so upset that she kept crying over and over again because of how helpless she felt in not being able to recover the engagement ring that she loved so very much. The jewel represented all of their memories made that led up to Walter popping the question at that very special spot where he chose to ask Evelyn to marry him.
Later that Christmas morning, Walter got his winter jacket on and headed out to the vehicle to re-inspect every corner and crevice of the SUV all over again. He knew that he would not get any rest until his wife found peace that her jewel was back on her finger. What was the conclusion of his next desperate search attempt? Once again, he found absolutely nothing! Then, Evelyn went out with their little girl and searched the Escalade some more and yet she too came away with the same disappointing feeling. It was one of the most special days of the year, and unfortunately Evelyn just could not enjoy herself knowing that her priceless engagement ring was gone! She kept thinking that she would never see the beautiful jewel ever again! Tears fell from her eyes throughout the Christmas celebration. Though gifts were exchanged between family members, nothing else mattered to Evelyn other than claiming her precious ring back! Sadly, her greatest present that she wished for was not in a jewelry box waiting for her to open under the Christmas tree.
In the days that followed, the couple continued to search. Evelyn was so distraught about the whole situation with the ring that she wouldn’t allow herself to enjoy thinking about all of the happy holiday memories made on Christmas. At some point, their desperate state left them with no other choice but to pay $500 to a Cadillac service mechanic who came to their residence to remove all of the front and rear seats from their SUV! They wanted to make certain, once and for all, that the ring was not in the vehicle. This would put aside any doubts as to whether Evelyn was mistaken or not about what she recounted happening that night.
After the Cadillac service specialist spent the next couple of hours pulling out the Escalade seats and inspecting all of the mechanical parts underneath them (checking to see if the ring got trapped somewhere in the guts of all its hardware), it was concluded that the beloved keepsake was not inside or under any of the vehicle’s luxury seats. The specialist spent a tremendous amount of time working on the vehicle, taking all of the components out and having to then attach and reconnect all of the electrical and mechanical pieces back together again. The verdict was finally out: the jewel was simply not in the Escalade! Walter looked at his wife and asked, “Are you finally satisfied that your ring is not in there?” She shook her head in disbelief, finding it extremely difficult to admit that perhaps she imagined everything regarding the ring falling off her finger in the Cadillac on Christmas Eve. She really started thinking that she was losing it mentally because she truly believed what she remembered happening in the backseat on that wintry Christmas Eve night several days earlier.
For the next week, there wasn’t a moment when Evelyn wasn’t expressing her grief and bewilderment to Walter, especially after each and every time that she finished searching the Escalade again and again. Since Walter had resolved within him that there was nothing left to do in searching for the ring, it was left up to Evelyn to come up with a new plan of action. In her state of desperation, she decided to google the question “how to find a lost ring in a car”. THE RING FINDERS metal detectorist directory popped up and she read a bunch of testimonials on Brian Rudolph, a metal detecting service specialist who serves the Gaithersburg Maryland area. She read that I not only metal detect on lawns, beaches and water, but I also find rings and other jewelry in houses and inside vehicles. After learning about what I do and how successful I have been in the past couple years with recovering people’s lost property, Evelyn found a renewal of hope in calling me to see if I could help her solve this bizarre mystery!
The moment that I picked up the phone to talk with Evelyn, I knew that I was about to step into a very complicated search scenario. I could hear the utter desperation in Evelyn’s voice as she shared all of the details about her many search attempts (including the hiring of the Cadillac mechanic specialist who pulled all the seats out of her SUV). I was convinced that we were going to need a true miracle to take place!
Evelyn said to me, “Brian, you are my last hope in getting my ring back”. I responded by telling her that I was absolutely excited to conduct a search for her and that I would believe that the Lord would favor me in this hunt for the missing sentimental jewel! I went on to share that since they had already paid much money for a professional to remove the Cadillac interior, most would believe that the odds were stacked up against me in recovering the ring. But I told Evelyn that God always defeats the odds when He is on our side! Evelyn then reiterated what she said a moment or two earlier by repeating, “I knew that you were the one that I needed to call when I saw your information online. I knew it! I just have this feeling that you were sent by God to me to find my ring!” I didn’t know how much of her statement was pure faith in the Lord working through me or that she was just trying to conjure up some “fumes of hope” left over from all of her previous disappointments. Regardless, I was just thrilled to be a part of this search and I invited the Lord into this situation by leading her in prayer that God would successfully recover this ring (whether it was still in the vehicle or buried in the grass outside of her sister-in-law’s house). She agreed with me in that prayer and professed that she too would trust the Lord and give glory to Him through this recovery that we hoped He would help us with. At the end of our discussion, we scheduled a time for me to come out to conduct the search in her Escalade later that evening.
Sometime that night, I arrived inside the couple’s Gaithersburg, Maryland condominium complex garage where we would do the in-vehicle search. The family met me near their Cadillac SUV and I went over some preliminary details, including recounting the lost ring story from start to finish just so I had a clear perspective coming from Evelyn and gaining her husband’s personal recollection of what took place 6 days earlier. As I interviewed Walter, it was clear that he was not able to find any hope to believe that there would be any other outcome other than what he had already experienced for the past week since Christmas Eve. This made me even more passionate about wanting to prove the young man wrong and in the end give glory to my God for leading me to Evelyn’s lost ring!
Once I finished the interviewing process, the four of us prayed and then made our way over to the Cadillac which was parked nearby to where we were all standing. Because all of the seats had already been pulled out and then placed back in the vehicle, which led to no avail, my game plan was to start in the far rear compartment area. First, I metal detected Camilla’s blanket which happened to be lying near Evelyn when she realized that her ring was gone. No metal was picked up on the fabric. I then searched on top of the far rear carpet and in every open space available to me. When I didn’t find the keepsake there, I searched in the spare tire compartment (below the trunk carpet) and pulled the tire out so I had more exposed areas to investigate. I did this just in case the ring somehow slipped under the carpet and down into that section of the vehicle. During this phase of the search, I used my video endoscope to search every crack and crevice. An endoscope is a device that helps one look into hidden places where the human eye cannot view. It’s got a long snake-like cable with a lens and LED lights at the end of it. The endoscope uses Bluetooth technology in order to send a live wireless video signal to a smartphone to be able to view what the lens is picking up. The tire compartment turned out to be clean of any ring, so I then inspected Camilla’s stroller. Again, I used my endoscope in and around all of the fabric and foam that was lined in the child’s “4 wheeler” but nothing of importance was discovered in there, as well. Next, I repeated this same methodology with the child’s safety seat that was fastened on top of the right rear passenger cushion. Still, it turned out to be another area that was checked out to be clear of any jewelry in the Escalade.
It was now time to search the rear passenger section of the vehicle. As with the investigation that I had just completed in the far rear hatch area, I used my endoscope once again to search for any signs of a diamond ring in and around the rear seats. With the device, I was able to view every angle and each spot that the camera lens focused on. As I positioned the end of the endoscope into the crack or crevice that I wanted to investigate, I could watch its movements and hoped that the target I was hunting for would come into frame. The first place that I began to position the endoscope was inside the space between the back rest of the left passenger seat and its bottom cushion. It is common for small objects to fall into the gaps where the two parts of the seat intersect. So, I started at the corner of the left rear passenger seat and moved towards the center and then towards the right rear passenger seat. Slowly and carefully, I maneuvered the video snake down inside the crevices of the leather interior and observed any signs of a ring that may have gotten stuck somewhere down below into the seat’s abyss.
Inch by inch, I worked the endoscope inside the back of the seat, trolling along and capturing as much territory as possible with the video lens. I always push the snake down as far as it can travel and search as much territory as I can before I bring it back up and then push it back down again to search more adjacent areas. There were a couple of objects down inside the machinery of the seat that resembled a ring-like shape. They were both silver in color and texture, but there wasn’t enough evidence to continue checking those two targets out. I resolved to remove the endoscope from the back of the cushion and begin searching from underneath that right rear seat and move my way up into the machinery starting from the floor first.
By the time I started to search for the engagement ring from under the right rear passenger seat, I may have spent approximately 15 or 20 minutes into my investigation. I planned that if everything would check out clear on the right side, I would move to the center area and then continue to the left seat. With the endoscope snake in hand, I extended the wire as far back under the seat as it could possibly travel and I searched everything along the floor interior. I diligently looked for gaps and cutouts where the ring may have slipped into the flooring and down under the carpet. The whole time that I was searching for Evelyn’s beautiful momento, opposing thoughts constantly bombarded my mind. They whispered negative words that this whole operation was just a big waste of time. However, like in every search, especially something of this magnitude, I push against those doubts and determine to do everything possible to recover the missing item and to not give up under any circumstances. Not even if the odds were stacked against me like in this particular case. I continue to stand on God’s promises that He answers the prayers of those who seek Him diligently and believe that He is able to do all things! So, I kept checking my smartphone screen, hoping to see something that would resemble the shape of a silver halo. Once again, even after I placed the endoscope up into the seat from under its belly, I could not find any potential targets to investigate further. It was time to take my search to the middle seat section.
My search strategy for checking out the Escalade’s rear center passenger seat was identical to how I conducted the far left rear passenger side. I placed my “spy device” inside the tight gap located between the bottom cushion and the back rest seat portion. Moving the snake down into the mechanical hardware, I viewed my screen, hoping that the lens would spot the target that I was diligently searching for. Again, there were a couple of questionable objects that somewhat looked like a diamond ring, but they just ended up being a nut and a thick washer. At the point where I finished searching the internal parts of the center seat from the top side, I took my gear (which included my high lumens headlamp) and placed it all back down on the carpet so I could begin searching from under the seat towards the back center area.
The whole time that I was conducting my search, Walter was observing what I was doing outside of the Cadillac on the right side of the vehicle. Evelyn was tending to her little girl in the rear of the SUV. The sad and bewildered young lady was on the phone with a friend and perhaps with her own mother, as well. As time marched on, I noticed that Evelyn was much more subdued than before and during the whole time Walter was consistently emotionally “flatlining” (because he really didn’t think there were any miracles left to be discovered since they began searching for their beloved ring). I kept giving him the play-by-play as to what I was doing and where I was searching next. Walter could see everything as I maneuvered the video wire far back and up into the middle seat components. I made sure that I placed the snake into every corner and crevice where the electronic eye could travel, so as to not miss a single possibility as to where the jewel may have ended up.
Again, I continued to fight those doubts again because I had passed the halfway mark in the rear of the Escalade and it was most unlikely that the ring had ended up somewhere in the front section of the vehicle. I just kept telling myself that all things are possible for he who believes that the Lord can do anything (Jesus said so in Mark 9:23). I didn’t give up and I just kept searching relentlessly.
Finally, as I continued to move the endoscope cable all around the back of the seat’s undercarriage, I picked up an image on the smartphone screen that unmistakably resembled a lady’s solitaire diamond engagement ring! I definitely could make out the “halo-shaped” object perfectly and then without question, my eyes focused in on the largest diamond that was hanging off a most spectacular circular piece of metal – 18 karat white gold! My heart started racing as I fixed the positioning of the camera so that I could see the target a bit more clearly. I have to admit that I was in my own personal state of shock! It’s rare enough just to recover lost property as small as a ring inside someone’s vehicle, but even more unlikely to find the object after a professional mechanic pulls all of the seats out and still finds nothing! What an incredible site that my eyes had beheld! I made my news update known to Walter who had been talking in the background and had looked away temporarily. That guy lit up like the Christmas tree in his home and he expressed that he couldn’t believe what I was telling him! He crunched into the vehicle to look at the screen and there was that amazing vision of beauty once again! There was no doubt that it was in fact Evelyn’s gorgeous engagement ring! I discovered it lying on the carpet all the way to the back of the middle rear seat! It was so far to the rear that without the endoscope there would have been no way to have located it.
Upon finding the ring in the particular location where the scope picked it up, I was convinced that the jewel had slipped off of Evelyn’s finger on Christmas Eve (just as she described) and landed on top of Camilla’s blanket that was near Evelyn’s feet at the time that she had first settled inside the vehicle. After the ring fell, she picked the blanket up and shook it, hoping to locate the runaway gem at the time. However, unbeknownst to Evelyn, the ring must have freed itself from the blanket and flew to the back of the middle seat, rolling down into the gap where the bottom cushion and the back rest intersected. Then, when the couple searched the rear passenger area, they must have missed seeing the ring and accidentally pushed the sentimental piece down farther into the gap of the middle section, causing the ring to disappear below. It then somehow got caught somewhere inside the hardware of the seat. No one, not even the Cadillac mechanic could spot the ring that was lodged inside the internal parts of the undercarriage. It was probably wedged quite firmly and deep into that seat when it was originally inspected. I was convinced that when I put the endoscope down into the internal components below the middle seat cushion, I somehow dislodged the ring from the location where it was caught, causing it to fall to the carpet in the very back of that middle section! This had to have been what happened because after they pulled the seats out initially, there was no way that they would have missed seeing the ring if had been resting on the carpet the whole time! It would have been easily seen when the mechanic pulled out the rear seats!
At this stage of the story, I am quite confident that the reader of this article will not find it very difficult to imagine how Walter’s bride responded when she heard the unbelievable news that I had found her gorgeous keepsake! She went bananas! Evelyn started screaming and hugging her husband and then looking over my shoulder at the gorgeous diamond ring that had been presumed to be permanently MISSING IN ACTION by everyone else! She stared at the screen as I showed her what we were about to pull out from the vehicle! That’s when Evelyn insisted on taking her own video of this incredible discovery! So many exciting words began to fly out of her mouth! The young bride was just beyond excited and beyond relieved all at the same time! Evelyn couldn’t help but express that my successful search and recovery of her most precious gem completely vindicated her story that the engagement ring had never left the vehicle and that she did in fact see it drop somewhere in the car! Walter had no choice but to sheepishly concede.
Both the husband and wife were hugging me over and over again, thanking me for what I was able to recover for them! I will never forget how Evelyn was running around the vehicle freaking out with so much excitement and jubilation! I asked Walter at that moment if he would like to do the honors and pull the ring from its hiding place in the far back area where it was waiting to return back to his princess’ finger! With a huge smile on his face he said he was totally up for it! I then exchanged spots with him on the floor where we were initially crouched down and I gave some more room for the elated man. He stretched his right arm out as far as it could reach towards the deep back area under the middle seat. Within seconds, Evelyn and I could see Walter’s hand coming out from beneath the seat with the largest and most beautiful and elegant diamond ring! The woman that he was so in love with began to cry as she was presented with the sentimental keepsake which she thought would never be placed on her finger ever again! The couple gave each other the most loving embrace that one could ever experience! Their living nightmare that had lasted for nearly a week was now finally over!
For the next hour, all of us celebrated the recovery of Evelyn’s lost engagement ring! We gathered together and devoted some time to thank the Lord who helped me and guided me to the jewel during the entire search and recovery process! It was an unbelievable event and one that I will never forget for the rest of my life! Thank You Lord for including me in such a special story! I am just as grateful as Evelyn turned out to be…all because she reached out to take ahold of her “last hope” – oh no, that beacon wasn’t me…it was God that took her call for help! And indeed, He surely did deliver! I was just happy that I was there to assist!
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