Lost Promise Ring at Potomac Falls High School…Found 2 Years Later Near Sterling, Virginia
Brian Rudolph, Lost Item Recovery Specialist (Land, Water, Sand, Snow, Leaves, Houses & Vehicles) Will Find Your Lost Keepsake! Call ASAP (301) 466-8644!
This is a special ring story to share because it has to do with young love, drama, mystery, hope, adversity, perseverance and lastly…redemption! I received a text message at 12:55 am from a young lady named Trinity who was desirous of recovering her lost promise ring. This is what she texted: “Hello this is Trinity. I lost a ring about 2 years ago that I got from my husband (then boyfriend) when we had first started. My husband doesn’t want me to keep trying to find the ring. But every time I think of it I feel guilty I lost it and I grow to love it more and more. I’m aching to get it back. I know it’s been awhile. So it’s not high chances but I wanted to discuss details with you to see how bad you think it will be to find it.” When I woke up that morning I immediately responded: “Hello Trinity, Thank you for contacting me. I would love to help. When can we discuss the details of its disappearance?” We talked later that morning on the phone and here is the backstory regarding how the ring got lost and what Trinity did to try to find her special keepsake:
A couple of years earlier while Trinity was attending Potomac Falls High School in Cascades, Virginia (near Sterling), she fell in love with Francisco who gave her a gold plated promise ring. It meant everything to her. Four months after Trinity received the special jewel, tension befell the couple. Something majorly challenging happened between them. The young lady was so hurt that once the final school bell sounded throughout the halls, Trinity stormed out of the school building, made her way over to her car, took her promise ring off of her finger and while standing in the middle of the student parking lot, she threw the keepsake towards a wooded area. The heated girl believed she heard the ring hit the parking lot pavement or curb before it disappeared. She was hoping that the promise ring ended up in the woods rather than it ricocheting back onto the concrete where it eventually would be found by someone else. Trinity thought she may have heard the ring hit some leaves which gave her some hope that her “symbol of love” was still quite accessible. Though the young lady was quite angry, she still hoped that the ring had cleared the woods and that it didn’t end up where someone could pocket it.
A week or so later, when things cooled down between the couple, Trinity had feelings of regret for throwing the ring. She rented a metal detector and searched for six hours in the woods hoping to find her precious symbol of promise. Unfortunately, Trinity wasn’t able to find her ever so important “symbol of promise”. There were several obstacles that the young girl faced which made it nearly impossible for her to find what she was looking for. One, it was possible that the ring never made it into the woods and that someone had already picked it up off of the parking lot asphalt. Two, Trinity lacked experience with metal detecting. Three, there was tons of trash scattered on and beneath the leaves which made it extremely difficult for her to make any sense out of all of the beeps and bleeps she was hearing and seeing on her machine. Lastly, there was a large area of dense thorn bushes and bramble covering a significant portion of territory where the ring could have ended up, and so Trinity stayed away from that particular danger zone for obvious reasons.
On the brighter side of things, time marched on and the couple eventually got married after finishing high school. As the years progressed, Trinity felt guilty for throwing the promise ring and she thought about it quite often. Now that she was wearing her wedding band, she so desired to possess the entire love story represented partially by the promise ring that her once high school sweetheart Francisco had given her. It kept bothering her that she didn’t even have that special piece of jewelry for more than a third of that year. In addition to that, the guilt and regret kept eating her up inside.
Trinity eventually searched online for new ideas as to how she might be able to find her ring (if it was still somewhere out there). That’s when THE RING FINDERS website popped up. Trinity couldn’t wait until later that morning to contact me! That’s when she sent me that after midnight text message! As I indicated above, the two of us talked later that morning on the phone. Trinity shared with me that her husband was in doubt that the ring could ever be recovered and encouraged Trinity to move on. Yet, after reading many of my successful ring stories and testimonials from my happy clients, she felt very confident that if the ring was still out there, I was her guy to find it!
After talking with Trinity and asking her every question imaginable, I expressed to her that I was confident that there was a good chance we could recover this ring. During that conversation, there was no mention of the jewel hitting the pavement before she believed it made it to the woods. I would discover that vital part of the account upon meeting her at the search location. That would have concerned me from the start but it still would not have deterred me from trying to recover the item. The facts that made me feel good about my chances of success had to do with what Trinity shared with me:
One, she threw it towards the grass and the woods (I did not know about the trees and thorns until I arrived at the search site). Two, the ring was a small petite size of 4.5 or 4.75. I didn’t know that the ring was a very thick wedding band style type which therefore could have easily been eyeballed if it was out in public on the grassy area completely exposed. Three, when the ring was thrown, it was in the season of Fall which was positive because the ring could have ended up under some leaves and became camouflaged from being seen by anyone walking by. Also with the gold being the color yellow, it would blend nicely into the aged leaves settling onto the ground. Four, no one else specifically took notice of what had transpired when Trinity had thrown the ring, but others just knew that something bad had taken place between she and her boyfriend when the angry girl stormed across the parking lot. There were a few positive pieces of information to lean upon with this search and I looked forward to checking the site out as soon as Trinity would be back in touch with me.
Another day went by and I had not heard from my potential client so I texted Trinity once again: “Good morning Trinity, it was a pleasure talking with you the other day. Let me know if I can be of assistance to you in the recovery of your beloved promise ring. All the best and have a wonderful day! Brian Rudolph / The Ring Finders”. Trinity responded: “Oh yes please! I spoke to my husband… and he too is interested if you can find it!”
Another week went by and I didn’t hear anything else from Trinity and so I thought that maybe she decided to let the search idea go by the wayside. Then, out of the blue, a few days later I heard back from her! We then set up the search date and time to meet over at her old high school parking lot.
During my first trip out to Potomac Falls High School, it was pretty cold outside. I wore some heavy winter gear and met my client out by the parking lot near the place where she threw the ring nearly two years earlier. Trinity showed me where she was standing in the middle of the parking lot, approximately 30 feet or so away from the edge of the curb. Then, above the concrete the lawn began and it gradually dipped down to where the woods began. The young lady wasn’t sure exactly where the ring hit the asphalt but she believed it bounced off of the pavement somewhere and hoped that it landed in the woods. As I shared earlier, Trinity believed that she may have heard it settle onto some leaves or something. In the next couple of weeks following that first search attempt, I asked my client why she thought she heard the ring hit the leaves in the woods knowing how angry she was at the time. Most people would not have had such self control and sensitivity to be so attuned to her surroundings at such an emotional state. The young lady was pretty confident that at that time she wanted to make sure that the ring was not in public site.
When I got all of the details that I needed to start the search, I said a prayer with Trinity, asking the Lord to bless our time in seeking to recover the lost ring. Then, I gathered my gear and began the hunt. Trinity remained in her car where it was warm. She read her book as well as took interest with what I was doing from time to time. When I dug up a target I would hold it up and show her what I had found. There was so much trash that after awhile my client’s interest faded and she focused more on the pages in front of her than the many pull tabs, bottle caps, coins and much scrap pieces of various types of metal that I constantly unearthed and waved in her direction.
Every 20 to 30 seconds I was back down on the ground detecting another shallow signal that was just below the surface. As I moved leaves out of the way there would be various pieces of trash made primarily out of aluminum. I found aluminum foil, beer cans, soda cans, condom wrappers, marijuana joint wraps, aluminum wrappers, ketchup packets, other products made from aluminum foil that wrapped up food items at one time, a shotgun shell, and much more.
I would search for nearly three and a half hours that morning into early afternoon. At some point I needed to wrap up the search to get to my next client. I encouraged her that this was just all part of the process of elimination. Even though I didn’t find the ring, I could at least know where the ring was not. The question was whether or not the band had been seen by anyone else if it never reached the woods. I would not know that answer unless I continued forward the next time I returned.
I encouraged Trinity that we covered a lot of square footage and removed a tremendous amount of trash for one search visit. Before we parted, I showed her all of the sections that I searched and what areas I would scan on the next trip out. I told my client that I would leave all of the thorn bushes and bramble untouched until we concluded that the ring was nowhere else in the woods. At least I was able to conclude one thing – the ring was not on the grassy areas which covered approximately 7 feet in depth from the curb, down the small hill and out towards the woods. The grid I conducted was stretched 70 feet from left to right. When I would start back up again on my next search attempt, I would be tackling only sections of the ground that contained leaves, dirt and lots more trash. A few minutes after we both said our goodbyes and drove away from the high school parking lot, I texted Trinity: “Hang in there Trinity! We got this! We will definitely find it for you soon enough! As I said to you, I will text you later with my availability this week. All of the best to you on this Sunday!” She texted back: “Thank you! Have a good Sunday.”
The next day, I texted Trinity my schedule and let her know that I could make it out that Thursday. I shared with her that she could fully trust me if she was not able to be present for Part Two of the search. I said, “Even if you are not able to be there, I assure you that you can feel comfortable knowing that your beloved ring will be returned to you should I find it out there in the woods!” She texted back, “Yeah it’s all good, I trust you. Thursday I will be preoccupied but you can keep searching without me.” I responded, “Oh wonderful! Thank you Trinity! You can trust me 100%. I mean this when I say that I am the only one capable of finding your beloved promise ring due to the fact that I’m the only one with so much “OCD” (LOL) to go through the trash piece by piece in that amount of area. The ring could have bounced much farther if it ricocheted off of the curb. So I’m your best bet and I hope I can make a story out of this for us!” Trinity responded, “Yes that would be wonderful! Thank you.”
Thursday arrived and it was pouring rain outside as I drove to the search site. I decided to keep moving and not cancel just in case the rain would slow down. Thank goodness it did. From 9:30 am to 12:30 pm I continued the search, pulling out more trash and covering the wooded area that was most reasonable to search. I may have detected about 35 to 40 feet into the woods and stretching 70 feet from left to right. I used specialized grid tapes to organize the entire operation so not to miss a single square inch. I covered so much territory that when I was done, there was no other real estate left for me to search except for the wooded areas that were confined by a huge amount of bramble and thorn vines that stretched to nearly 8 to 10 feet in the air (Yes, you read it correctly! From the ground towards the sky it was approximately between 8 to 10 feet high) and stretched across for nearly 50 feet from left to right. There was literally an entire mini forest filled with long and windy thorn branches as sharp and dangerous as knives!
When I was done with the second search attempt, I sent a picture of all of the trash that I had found out in the woods and I let Trinity know that I still had not found her beloved promise ring. Later that day I again sent another text message letting her know that I would be planning to come out the following Monday: “Hi Trinity, I wanted to let you know I am planning to come out Monday to continue the search and I’m going to need to cut all of the thorn branches down in order for me to get into that area where that huge forest of thorns exists! I have an electric trimmer that should cut everything down. I will let you know what time I plan to be out there. I’m pretty sure Monday will work.” I did not hear back from her at all and I wondered if she had already started giving up hope that she would ever see her priceless promise ring ever again.
Unfortunately, when the next Monday came, the weather was not kind to me at all. I had to cancel the search and schedule my trip back to Virginia a couple of days later (which would be Wednesday). Again, sadly to say, it happened once more. The skies opened up and once again I was forced to postpone the continuation of the project. Just like with all of the other times, I texted Trinity and informed her that I would schedule my next trip to the site on the upcoming Monday for Part Three of the search.
It had been 11 days since I had last heard back from Trinity during our back and forth correspondence via text messaging. I still had not received any responses from Trinity which again made me more convinced that my client had given up all hope that her ring would ever be recovered. I concluded this when I didn’t hear from her anymore. Yet, as far as I was concerned, I was still determined to complete what I had started and continue to give it my all.
When the day finally came for me to resume the search and begin Part Three of the extremely tedious project, as always, I let my client know that I had arrived and was preparing for the search. I texted her: “Call me if you want to chat as I get my gear out. My first mission is to chop down all of that thick thorn activity.” Even after that correspondence I still did not hear back from Trinity.
I began my search with prayer as I did with the young lady on my first visit out. Then, it was time to use my lithium battery operated hedge trimmer to cut the first of many large sections of thorn bushes and coverings to gain further access into the woods and closer to the ground to be able to continue metal detecting for the little “symbol of promise”. The thorn bramble stalks were so thick that I had to literally push the already trimmed bundles out of the way with my cutting “war machine” arsenal because the thorns were so high off the ground and I needed to get the detector coil farther below the mess in order to obtain accurate signals. As I shared earlier in the story, the growth was something I had never seen before! The thorn branches extended from the ground straight up in the air and entangled its web around tree limbs that had to be at least 10 feet up from the earth! The overgrowth was so dense that there was even a bird’s nest built to perfection with a security system that made it nearly impossible for the rest of that natural environment to penetrate!
Once I finished cutting down a considerable section of enemy territory, I pushed, wacked, and carefully carried much of the bulk of bramble piles out of the detection zone so as to further my investigation. Next, I continued to metal detect until I would run out of real estate once again. During that long and laborious process, I scanned lots more trash under the leaves that rested below their protective bramble-made shield. Every 30 seconds or so I would pick up a new target signal, stop to investigate, unearth the target with my hand digger, deposit the trash into my bag, pick up my machine again and resume detecting some more. It was a start, stop, and then start-up all over again process!
After I cut down that first large section of thorns and eventually finished scanning every square inch of that portion of ground (all to come up with nothing of importance), I again found myself wielding the heavy green and black Ryobi hedge trimmer, attacking the enemy before me like a Rambo type mercenary in the deep dense forest! While I was doing all of that work, I heard some opposing thoughts that constantly whispered into my ear: ‘What if all of this tedious and tough labor is all for nothing?” What if the ring never even made it into the woods and I am cutting, digging and detecting for absolutely zero to be recovered?’ Regardless of those inner reality remarks of doubt, I pushed on and continued the search with great perseverance.
Once again, I picked up my metal detector and began to search all over the second cleared area where the ‘throne of thorns’ held much of that real estate hostage for years upon years. I sadly concluded that the ring was still nowhere to be found in that zone. With much resilience, I picked up the trimmer after taking a break and did yet another large section of cutting so that I could get even farther into the woods and search more area below. As soon as I cleared that third large section of territory, I knew that this would have to be my final area to investigate. There was just way too much overgrowth to continue any further. It was getting to that point where I could not see an end to all of the madness! The bramble was everywhere and weaved itself around everything! The thorn ‘hives’ and coverings stretched another 30 feet into the woods and even farther over to the left. I felt that what I had cleared up to that point was suffice in relationship to where the ring could have bounced and how far it would have potentially traveled after hitting the curb. This would be my final attempt to recover Trinity’s lost ring before having to call it quits. The thorn area that I cut in total was 30 feet wide, 15 feet deep into the woods and 7 feet in the air in every direction.
For the last time, I picked up my metal detector, placed my headphones on and continued playing the role of trash collector as I discovered more and more old cans, wrappers, bottles with metal tops and then some. Finally, after about two hours of searching and cutting, I got a signal which registered as an 8 and 9 indicator numbers on the detector screen. I had been getting those great signals the entire time out there because most of the targets ended up being little pieces of aluminum foil which mirrored that very range of numbers that I had been looking for. In all honesty, I didn’t think much of this particular target that was clearly buried beneath the ground. I was getting pretty tired at that point and every target that I was digging up would end up being the same disappointment – another similar piece of trash that I had already found in so many other places. Yet, I was forced to dig every single one of them up because I knew that the jewel would have to be slightly below the surface after nearly two years missing. My guess was that the ring buried itself to a depth of an inch or two at most. I dug up the target thinking it was just going to be yet another piece of trash. I took out my pinpointer and placed it down into the hole to isolate the exact spot where there object was positioned in the dirt. Once I zeroed in on the target, I continued to dig and then repeated the process by testing the hole with the handheld detector one more time. To my surprise, the metal object was no longer in the 4 to 5 inch pit that I had created. I then scanned the ground around the hole to see where the target ended up. Eventually, my pinpointer honed in on a particular clump of mud that contained whatever this mystery object happened to be. Almost immediately I saw just a tiny glimpse of something that looked gold in color, packed in dirt, and was completely surrounded by mud and portions of broken up leaves. My heart raced as I saw what appeared to be a gold ring with little stones going completely around the halo shaped object’s equator! I had found Trinity’s ring! I couldn’t believe it! I truly could not face the reality of what I was looking at!
The whole moment was completely surreal as I was not prepared for what had just transpired! Every trip I made, every task I took, every tool I used to bring me to this very spot was all worth the relentless efforts that I made! I continuously thanked the Lord for being there with me and guiding me through this entire journey until reaching this pinnacle of excitement and success! I was beyond moved by the moment and quite humbled by the fact that God allowed me to be the one to find the treasure and ultimately help this very kind young lady with recovering her precious “circle of love”! I was so happy that the sought after keepsake did in fact make it into the woods! All of my time talking and texting Trinity about the search, all of my commuting to the search site, all of my detecting, digging and demolition was not in vain! Everything I did was propelled based on a hope that the ring had in fact made it over the curb after hitting the asphalt! What a deep feeling of satisfaction I experienced out there in the woods with my knees to the ground!
As soon as I cleaned off the very pretty ring, I held it up in front of my eyes and I thought to myself, ‘To think that I am the first person to touch this ring since it was thrown by Trinity’s hand 2 years earlier. This was the very piece of jewelry that was bought by Francisco to represent his promise unto marriage one day, the same gift presented somewhere special as a surprise for the young man’s sweetheart and ultimately worn for several months before the unfortunate crisis took place with the couple.
The entire search that day was conducted from 2 pm until 4:30 pm. Before packing my things up, I measured the “crime scene” to see how many feet this little guy traveled, starting from the very spot where Trinity threw the keepsake and ending at its eventual resting place where I discovered the jewel. In total, it traveled 52 feet. Of that distance, it traveled approximately 17 feet into the woods surrounded by a forest of thorns and thistles!
Once I finished taking photos and video, I called Trinity to see if she could come out to the site so that I could share the big surprise with her in person. Unfortunately, she was not able to make it out to the high school due to her schedule. However, we eventually did a video conference call together and that’s when Trinity was absolutely blown away by the news of my discovery! She did not know that I had found the promise ring prior to setting up the phone call! When I finally did the ring reveal it was a moment that I will never forget! Trinity began to cry and the emotions of excitement and gratitude began to pour from within her heart and flow from her eyes! I could not have been happier for the newlywed bride! She couldn’t stop thanking me and asking me questions about where I ultimately found the irreplaceable gem! What a fantastic time that it was for me to share such an unexpected happy report! I never gave up and I kept on believing until the very end!
The story finally came to an encouraging conclusion when Trinity and I reunited back at her former high school for one last time so I could personally hand her the ring that she so desperately wanted back in her possession! I had the pleasure and joy to orient my client over to the hole where I found the ring buried, as well as showed the young lady all of the bramble that I had cut down to gain access into that last piece of real estate where I eventually found the keepsake! My client was amazed! That very sad chapter that took place two years earlier had finally come to an end. The memories of adversity experienced on that particular day in the parking lot were now replaced with smiles and celebration of redemption!
I was so excited to find this ring for Trinity! It definitely turned out to be a “legendary story” because nobody really knew for sure whether or not the ring ever made it into the woods, even though in the end Trinity was correct that she did in fact hear the jewel hit the leaves. Many of my clients believe they experienced one thing or another during the disappearance of their special item. However, sometimes in the end, we come to find out that the true reality of the situation paints a completely different picture once the search is completed. In this particular case, my client was not only correct about what had happened, but also Trinity did the courageous thing and hired a professional ring finder to attempt to solve this mystery. In the end, I was extremely proud to profess these two final words…“Case Closed”!
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