Lost Wedding Band in Audi Car…Found by In-Vehicle Ring Recovery Specialist in Arnold, Maryland
Brian Rudolph, Lost Item Recovery Specialist (Land, Water, Sand, Snow, Leaves, Houses & Vehicles) Will Find Your Lost Keepsake! Call ASAP (301) 466-8644!
I received a call from a young lady named Natalie in Arnold, Maryland (a suburb of Annapolis) who desperately needed my help to find a 14 karat white gold wedding band encircled with diamonds. She and her husband Carter scoured their Audi for several days hoping to find the precious keepsake, but all of their efforts unfortunately fell flat. Here is the backstory:
Four days prior to receiving the couple’s cry for help, Carter and Natalie went out on the town for a Saturday date night. On the way back home from dinner, Natalie was sitting in the front passenger seat casually talking with her husband while she “twiddled around” with her three rings. She was wearing her engagement ring and two wedding bands (yes, that’s right, two identical wedding bands that together add to the sparkle and “pop” effect on her finger). At some point during their commute, one of the matching wedding bands slipped off of Natalie’s hand and disappeared somewhere in the car. The distraught passenger heard an immediate noise as if the precious keepsake bounced off of a piece of plastic, so Natalie was confident that as soon as they parked she would be able to find the jewel.
Instead of waiting until the couple arrived home, Carter pulled over into a parking garage so that his wife could retrieve the band off of the carpet. There was only one problem – as soon as Natalie got out of the vehicle to search for the runaway ring, it was nowhere to be found! It was if it had disappeared into thin air! Over and over again the bewildered woman scanned the luxurious vehicle but continued to come away with no results. Then, Carter jumped into action and he too became perplexed as to what could have happened to this little fellow! The couple decided at that point to return back to their Arnold, Maryland house for the night and to continue their search the following day.
As I shared above, for the next several days Natalie and her husband Carter searched everywhere in their Audi hoping to finally make sense as to what could have possibly happened to Natalie’s beloved keepsake. The two of them tried everything to recover the lost wedding band, but unfortunately none of their efforts came to fruition.
Thinking that the little piece of jewelry must have slipped into a small crevice or crack under the seat, Carter got access to an endoscope and attempted to identify where the ring had ended up with his newly acquired electronic device. That strategy ended up being another bust in the list of ideas to try out. Back and forth, the couple kept taking turns trying again and again to find the missing-in-action sentimental keepsake. Sadly, at some point, Natalie and Carter recognized that with all of their diligent efforts, they were not qualified to be able to identify and extract the jewel from the Audi (if in fact it was really still there inside the vehicle).
Four days later after the initial incident took place, Natalie was at work and one of her fellow employees happened to step forward and search online for some kind of help for the poor young lady. That is when things began to turn around in this extremely frustrating string of events. The staff member found a website belonging to the elite international directory of metal detectorists called THE RING FINDERS. As Natalie read all about this very unique website that provides an unlimited database of highly competent item recovery specialists, she was more convinced more than ever that her answer was finally close at hand. The young lady looked up a specialist near her home and my name, Brian, Rudolph, popped up on her device. Natalie not only read that I was a successful metal detectorist, but that I also have much success in recovering lost rings inside vehicles of many kinds. With no time to waste, she immediately reached out to me and before long we scheduled an appointment for me to meet up with the couple at their Arnold, Maryland house.
The next morning, I drove to Natalie and Carter’s place where I could not wait to indulge myself in yet another in-vehicle search and recovery operation. I was still experiencing a tremendous high since my last in-vehicle success story just a couple of weeks earlier in Winchester, Virginia. It was an incredible search story that I will never forget! I was able to recover a very special family heirloom gold diamond ring for a young man who was devastated at the loss of his father who died a year earlier and then the loss of his father’s ring six months later. Now I had another opportunity to preserve another sentimental story about a lost ring that once was presented to Natalie on the day of her marriage several years earlier. If I was not able to recover this very special “symbol of love” from the vehicle, it would mean that the precious keepsake would never be worn again and therefore it certainly would not have the chance to be passed down Natalie’s family line as a cherished family heirloom one day.
As soon as I arrived, Natalie came out to the parking lot and began to show me what had taken place in the vehicle many days earlier. I had her reenact the entire event so that I could get a better idea of what could have happened to the wedding band. After my client concluded her demonstration, I shared with her that my biggest concern was that the ring may have been on her lap the whole time and then when she got out of the vehicle to search the Audi, she may not have realized that the ring fell onto the parking garage pavement. She too wondered if that was what happened to the band that she so desperately had been searching for to no avail. However, because she heard that particular “ping” noise immediately following the moment when the ring fell off of her finger, it was more likely that the ring did remain inside the vehicle. I did mention to Natalie that if the ring did make its way outside of the car, it probably happened because the wedding band had fell down between the door kick panel and the door itself. Then, when she opened the car door, the piece of white gold and diamonds fell out and rolled onto the concrete slab where the car was parked. I was hoping that that was not what actually happened, but we still had to realistically assess the situation and identify all possibilities as I was about to take on this next search and recovery challenge. Natalie reassured me that she and Carter checked and re-checked the parking garage concrete pavement to make sure that the wedding band did not drop to the ground and then roll out of sight. Her words were quite encouraging for me to hear as I was about to invest quite a bit of time with this attempted recovery operation.
Once Natalie and I completed my orientation inside the Audi, I went to my detecting backpack that was in a wagon that I wheeled down the street to the couple’s residence and then pulled out the necessary gear to begin the search. Because one cannot use a metal detector inside of a vehicle due to the massive amounts of metal that the vehicle is made out of, I have to resort to using other tools to help me identify lost items, such as my endoscope (which allows me to search corners, crevices and other spaces that the human eye cannot see). The first section of the car that I wanted to check out was the area under Natalie’s passenger seat. I knew from the facts given to me that the ring did not fly over to the driver side seat. She was playing with it and there was no indication that the wedding band flew across her side over to where Carter was stationed. Therefore, if in fact the ring was still inside the vehicle, I did not need to waste my time scanning the left portion of the Audi.
As I fed the endoscope lens below Natalie’s seat, I inspected both of her seat rails along with checking the lower air vent, gaps between the console carpet, and the floor carpet where the two merge underneath Natalie’s seat. I studied every crevice and corner that my endoscope allowed me to view on my monitor screen as I was not about to miss a single millimeter of space, knowing from past experiences how these rings can disappear into the most unlikely of places. Sometimes these recovery operations turn out to be a lot easier than anticipated. Based on the testimony of my client, the couple may not have had the correct tools to use, or perhaps they just happened to miss seeing the object of desire as they searched throughout the vehicle. In this particular case, I was initially able to conclude that Natalie’s precious keepsake was not hiding in some typical and obvious location and that this search could end up being a whole lot more complicated.
Once I completed my initial search under Natalie’s seat, I moved to the rear of the same seat and began to observe any and all additional places where I was not able to monitor from the front side. I made absolute certain that I didn’t miss the irreplaceable band anywhere from the rear. When I was satisfied that everything was clear of the jewel, it was time for me to check the right side of Natalie’s seat.
Knowing that the ring was not found in any of those potential spots underneath the front passenger seat, it was time to explore in and around the seat recliner lever mechanism that was located on the side of the seat. Remember, I had mentioned earlier that Natalie heard her ring bounce off of something that sounded like plastic. Therefore, my thinking was that it was quite possible that when the ring slipped away from Natalie’s finger, it rolled to the right side of her and bounced off of the lever and possibly ended up inside the mechanism. I wanted to make sure that the ring wasn’t trapped inside that particular part before continuing to search in any other location in the vehicle.
I brought all of my equipment back around to the front passenger side floor and began inspecting the recliner handle and the inner components of that part. Unfortunately, there were no possible spots where the ring could have gotten jammed in the mechanism. So, once again, I had to cross out yet another theory and move on to the next possible location where the diamond band may have ended up.
It was at this point in the search that I had to stop for a minute and recount all of the details which Natalie had given me on the phone and in person during her reenactment of what happened in the Audi four days prior to my arrival. Unless the ring fell out of the car when she opened the door in the parking garage, I had to keep telling myself that the jewel was still inside the Audi, trapped in a location that would really challenge a ring finder like myself to find.
Here are some of the facts and clues that I reconciled in my mind before attacking the next place where the ring might have ended up:
One, Natalie shared that she did not throw the ring, but rather, it slipped off of her finger. Therefore, it did not ricochet anywhere with too much speed or force involved when it took off.
Two, because I checked everywhere on the left side of Natalie’s front seat, I was 100% confident that the ring did not travel to the left of her body and then down under the left side of her seat. I clearly checked every square millimeter in that region and there was no way I had missed it.
Three, my client swore that she heard a “ping” sound as if the ring hit some type of plastic part inside the vehicle. If that was the case, it meant that the ring had to have gone in the direction towards the right front door. I knew after checking the side caddy compartment that was attached to the inner door skin that the ring did not fly into that isolated area. This all meant that wherever the ring ended up, it had to travel across Natalie’s right side and bounce somewhere off of some type of plastic piece and then land below that particular section.
Four, since I scanned with my endoscope all of the real estate within the side seat recliner lever mechanism (and there was no ring there and there was no ring under the seat as well), I had to conclude at that point, knowing all the facts given so far, that the jewel most likely bounced off of the recliner lever and disappeared into a crevice or space somewhere below that upper region.
All of these facts and deductions that I reviewed out there by the car helped me focus on the next possible location where the ring could have possibly ended up. In fact, there was only one place that I had left to check where Natalie’s beloved keepsake could have slipped into and disappeared out of sight somewhere. As I studied my surroundings further, the path that the ring most likely took after bouncing off of the side recliner lever mechanism was towards a very narrow slit that was located in a plastic trim panel that separated the front door jamb from the rear jamb. This particular piece of trim covered up the seatbelt which was bolted to the frame underneath that piece of plastic. The belt itself was threaded through that slit and then carried upward through a plastic guide ring where it then hung down waiting for a passenger to reach for it to buckle it in.
I kept staring at that very tiny slit in that panel where the seatbelt came out and I thought that the odds of Natalie’s ring jumping from the side lever mechanism and going airborne right into that tiny space was probably a thousand to one chance that it would have made it into that slit. Even the angle of the band had to perfectly maneuver itself on an exact angle and pitch for the piece of jewelry to slide perfectly into that narrow chamber and then fall into darkness below that trim panel. Yet, with the odds completely against my theory, it was all I had to work with and so I began making preparations to scan that very petite opening and see if the band traveled in and below it.
My first step in searching this last possible section was to place the endoscope into that very narrow slit to see what was down below. Regretfully, I was not able to fit the head of the lens into that narrow space so I had to look for another way in. As I followed that center vertical plastic trim piece down towards the carpet, I noticed that there was a rectangular plastic cut out piece that was designed to pull back from the main trim panel in order to have access to the seatbelt fastening bolt. The manufacture designed this piece in order for the mechanic to have easier access in removing and replacing the tie down bolt which holds the belt fabric to the frame. Once I got that small trim piece pulled back, I placed my endoscope down into the hole and searched everywhere below where the center vertical frame met up with the flooring and carpet.
Even though I thought that this particular spot that I was investigating had little to no chance of producing the missing ring, my attitude was the same as every other search that I have conducted. That is, I eliminate every possibility until I find the missing object, or that I don’t find it at all and therefore conclude that the item was no longer in that particular environment. I must have placed the endoscope lens in twenty or more locations down in that narrow chamber and nothing but carpet threads could be seen on my monitor screen. I kept changing the angles so that I didn’t miss a thing and still there was no jewelry to be discovered.
Knowing that this was my best and only chance remaining, I continued searching in that particular area and I decided to start pushing the snake farther down between the space where the carpet padding (eggshell white colored foam) was pressed up against the metal flooring. From what I could tell, there was nothing at all sandwiched between the vehicle carpet and the padding below it. Therefore, I wanted to search some more between the foam and the actual metal flooring just in case the piece of white gold somehow made its way farther and deeper across the Audi floor below.
It was not easy trying to push the endoscope between the foam and the floor. There was so much resistance because of how everything was compressed together that it convinced me even more that there was no way that a ring could somehow slip in between so much friction between that little space that I was observing. Yet, I didn’t give up and I just kept pushing farther and farther across the flooring in the direction of where the seat was bolted to the floor in the rear.
Just a reminder for the reader: The whole time I was looking at my monitor screen as I pushed the video camera snake farther along the flooring towards where the right rear seat frame support was bolted into the floor. I probably got the scope to reach approximately 5 inches away from the center support beam. Reaching that far away starting from the right inner edge inside the car, I didn’t think there was a chance in the world that any kind of metal would show up on my monitor screen. Then, as I kept on searching that underside section of the foam padding, at some point, just before I was about to pull the endoscope out and call it quits, I saw something appear on my screen that slightly resembled a piece of jewelry. At first I thought perhaps it was just a reflection of the floor itself. However, the more that I repositioned the endoscope in multiple angles, the more I got convinced that I was staring at my first potential target! My mind and heart started to race faster with great curiosity, intrigue and anticipation as I pondered the possibility that against all odds, I may have found the ring that had disappeared into thin air four days earlier!
As I shared earlier, I had recently been a part of not just one in-vehicle search in Alexandria, Virginia, but actually involved in several other crazy in-vehicle searches that were certainly unbelievable success stories! And pondering upon what I potentially had just discovered while staring at the endoscope screen, this one would add to another amazing story to share with my readers if indeed what I was seeing on the screen was actually Natalie’s sentimental wedding keepsake!
Because this object had burrowed its way far across the flooring of the vehicle, I was unable to push and position the endoscope any better than how I placed it thus far. So, in order for me to correctly identify that particular target, I needed to remove my snake from the trim panel slot and try reinserting the lens from a different location in the vehicle. After taking a few minutes to assess the situation, I determined that the best entry point for the endoscope would have to be under the trim panel that ran across the floor (which covered the edge of the carpeting as well as the metal floor reinforcement). It turned out that the floor trim molding actually was part of the vertical trim panel (all one piece) where I stuck the endoscope down in that one particular slot below where the seatbelt went into the plastic slit above it. Knowing that this was all one piece, I would need to loosen both the vertical panel and the lower floor horizontal trim cover molding all at the same time, since it was manufactured together as one “L” shaped part. Recognizing that there was some risk in breaking the large piece of plastic, I sought Natalie’s permission for me to go ahead with lifting the lower portion of this trim panel and molding in order to get better access to this mysterious object. I purposely didn’t tell Natalie that I had a particular target that I was working on identifying just so that I didn’t raise her hopes up too high if this pursuit for success turned out to be a bust. My client agreed to allow me to attempt the loosening of the large trim panel and then I immediately got busy with the removal process.
Slowly and carefully I used a couple of tools to release the trim panel from all of its connectors in order for me to lift it up to get access underneath with the endoscope. Then, I slid the snake as deep in as it would travel until I got it approximately in the same location as to where I believed I initially saw that piece of metal. When I realized that my probe still required some flexibility in moving the endoscope cable, I pulled back the carpet and used my box cutter to remove some excess foam padding below the main carpet. With every inch of material that I got rid of, I found that I had much more ability to wield the endoscope in a variety of different angles that I had previously been unable to perform.
As I positioned the camera back in the zone that I was aiming for again, I was quite encouraged to find a unique piece of colored thread that I had identified when I had originally placed the scope down that first opening of the vertical center trim panel. I was certain now that I was right where I needed to be and it was now just a matter of maneuvering the lens around to find that silver looking object that showed up on my screen earlier. Perhaps another few minutes went by as I continued to search for that particular target, and then a huge rush of encouragement came my way! While I was pulling back the more of the carpet and foam padding as much as I possibly could, I pushed the endoscope just another inch or so in a particular direction on a certain angle and there before me was what looked like a thin silver colored “halo” shaped object that was tightly wedged in between the carpet foam padding and the floor of the vehicle! This was the best visual coverage that I had seen on my monitor screen since observing just a portion of that piece of metal earlier!
I started to get extremely excited about discovering this new additional puzzle piece and I was becoming more convinced that this object actually was the lost ring! Knowing that it was nearly impossible for this target to be some other random object that “happened” to resemble a ring and just “happened” to make its way that far into the foam padding where it met up with the floor, I had to believe that I had found what initially seemed to be unobtainable! At that point, nothing was going to stop me from fully identifying what this round shaped object was! I kept positioning and repositioning the camera and tried to come alongside the target to see if I could make out any specific details that could help me further identify the piece of metal. After another minute or two of this same maneuvering technique with the endoscope, with great excitement, my answer finally arrived before my very eyes! There it was on the endoscope monitor! My eyes beheld several pretty diamonds that were encircled around the band of this metal object! They sparkled so brilliantly, shooting off countless rays of reflected light from my faithful scope’s LED beam! It was if every “ice” facet was sending me endless beacon distress calls, hoping that I was there to rescue that most sentimental piece of precious metal from the darkness where the ring had been hiding all this time! I couldn’t believe what I was looking at! Honestly, I was totally taken back by this very unexpected discovery of Natalie’s lost ring!
Not in my wildest dreams did I think that the diamond wedding band could have ricocheted off of the side seat lever mechanism and fly perfectly into that very narrow slit that was just wide enough for a very thin ring to go down into it! It had to approach the opening on a perfect angle for it to enter the plastic trim where the seatbelt exited! The chances of this happening were astronomical indeed! Then, to add to that craziness, the jewel disappeared below into the darkness, moving its way between the carpet pad and the floor and then traveled across the flooring approximately 5 inches or so until it settled down to its final resting place!
Prior to this recovery operation, I thought that I could never experience greater shocks of surprise from my other recoveries in the vehicles that I had searched in the past couple of months! Now, this one certainly took the cake by far! It never ceases to amaze me where these circles of love ultimately end up! My face lit up and I kept saying out loud to myself, “This is amazing! This is absolutely unbelievable! I can’t believe I did it! I did it! I found her ring!” I then began to thank the Lord for answering Natalie’s and my prayer which we lifted up to the Lord earlier on before I started the search. I felt such favor from God in helping me figure out where the wedding band had ended up all of this time! I was truly thankful for all of the Lord’s help with the wisdom He had given me that particular day!
Now that I finally located and identified Natalie‘s lost wedding memento, I needed to perform a particular procedure to extract the ring from its hiding place. There was no way that I could use my fingers to reach and retrieve the precious piece of jewelry, so I connected a special hook to the end of my probe and worked hard to catch the little halo in order to successfully rescue it from the darkness and return it once more to the person and place where it was greatly missed – Natalie’s left hand’s ring finger! I am very proud to share that within a few minutes of adjusting my strategy to hook and capture the jewel, I was able to successfully remove the sentimental keepsake from under the padding! For the first time since I located my target on the endoscope screen, I got to finally hold that beautiful diamond ring in my hand and see the precious white gold and diamonds with my own eyes!
The whole experience was simply breathtaking! I really didn’t believe this was all happening due to all of the impossibilities that surrounded this particular search! The greatest part of finding this irreplaceable piece of jewelry was that I got to then surprise the living daylights out of Natalie and her husband Carter! What a moment that was! My clients were completely blown away by the news that I revealed to them, and more importantly the shock I gave when I showed the evidence of my success that I held between my fingers! The three of us celebrated with so much excitement and elation! No one could really grasp the reality of what had just taken place! It all seemed just so surreal what had finally been restored to Natalie‘s finger! And not only that… but also what was preserved forever – a very meaningful symbol of love that told a very special love story that began ‘once upon a time‘!
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