Dominic and Abbey
May 1, 2019
Dominic's Wife Abbey's
14 Karat White Gold Engagement Ring with Endless Diamonds
14 Karat White Gold Wedding Band Covered with Diamonds
(Both were soldered together to form one ring)
This next story that I’m about to share will definitely go down in “metal detecting search history” as one of the most entertaining and unusual search and recovery accounts ever told. I may not get another one like this, or at least for a very very long time. So this story brings so much pleasure to me to share this one with you!
The ironic thing about this amazing story is that 5 days earlier I was doing a search in Boyce, Virginia for a woman who lost two missing rings. Unfortunately, neither one were recovered. We believe they were picked up by someone shortly after the rings fell to the ground. Without giving Dominic’s story away, I’ll just say this: While I was doing this search for the woman in Boyce, I actually asked God at the Virginia search site if He would help me find her rings in a particular area that I have always wanted to find a ring that had gone missing! I have made that same request to God several other times in the last few months while I have been on searches. Well, it didn't happen in Boyce, but it sure did happen at Dominic’s and Abbey's estate in Owings, Maryland! Never would I have believed that God would have given me the desires of my heart so quickly after I prayed these prayers! What a great God He is! And of course, most importantly, I was able to help Dominic recover his wife's precious 14 karat white gold, diamond covered engagement ring and diamond covered wedding band (they were soldered together)!
I got a phone call from Dominic who contacted me from the The Ring Finders directory. I immediately asked him if a particular scenario had taken place before he shared what happened to the ring, and he did in fact confirm my suspicions. For the sake of privacy, I will just tell you what happened without going into too much detail about why the ring went missing. Regardless, the video tells all and Dominic felt comfortable enough sharing on social media this amazing search and recovery story!
Three days before I got his phone call, Dominic and his wife Abbey were in the backyard of their three and a half acre estate. One thing led to another and Dominic happened to launch his wife's 14 karat white gold, diamond covered engagement ring and diamond covered wedding band (they were soldered together). We aren't talking about a few trees! It's a ridiculous forest back there! Dominic immediately went looking for the ring after it took off into the woods, but he couldn't find it anywhere in the very dense forest which dips downward into a swampy, muddy creek area at the bottom of the hill. He ordered a metal detector on Amazon after the first day of looking, and even that proved to be another failed attempt.
His account on the phone was identical to his account when I reached his property later that night at around 9:45 p.m. (3 days after the ring was lost in the woods). He was absolutely convinced of what he remembered happening. He was between two sheds that were at the place where the tree line began. He even had sticks on the ground marking exactly where he was when he threw the ring. When it went flying, he specifically remembered it going right between two trees and then straight through the forest and presumably down the hill. The strength in which he exerted gave Dominic confidence that the ring could have absolutely hit the bottom of the hill into the swampy creek. As I shared above, he bought a metal detector on Amazon and searched for an additional 10 hours but to no avail! He was done. He had given up looking, detecting and using words that I cannot describe on social media! It was time that he called a professional; someone who could lend a hand to this strange “ring gone missing” mystery.
When Dominic called me, I told him that after the search was over, he needed to send his metal detector back to Amazon for a refund! The ring would have to be somewhere on his property even though he spent three days searching with no luck, because nobody would be trespassing on that private property area that Dominic and his wife Ashley owns. The ring was somewhere out there. It was just a matter of where and how much time it would take for me to find it!
As I shared, I got out to the property at around 9:45 p.m. and immediately started pulling my gear out of the car. I love night searches. In fact, it can be a great advantage to search for missing items in total darkness with the help, of course, of my headlight. I was hoping I would see a shiny brilliant diamond ring glistening through the leaves that were scattered everywhere in the forest! Dominic took me to the “scene of the crime” and he reviewed with me the story from beginning to end as to where the ring was before it was tossed and where he believed it ended up.
I did not mention to him at the time that I was thinking how strange it was that he searched for so many hours with the metal detector and he still couldn’t come up with the precious keepsake. Even with a bad detector, this was dense woods we were talking about here. Not some overly populated residential or commercial area. Any detector will pick up the metal signals and there should not have been so many that it would cause him frustration by looking at all the metal on the surface of the leaves or just below some of the leaves. And in fact that is what he said. There wasn't too much metal as you go down the hill. There was quite a bit of scrap metal and small pieces of aluminum towards the top of the hill where the woods begin, because the previous owner threw scrap metal into the forest at the edge of the lawn.
The other side of the coin is, that metal detectorists like me are sent out because even with a little bit of metal out there, people are convinced to metal detect only in certain areas and not to look “outside of the box” in areas that you would never think to look at.
I started out into the woods with Dominic after he took me from the top of the hill all the way down to where the muddy creek was located. That's where I started metal detecting in every area down at the bottom. I was wearing my very tall waterproof boots (they looked like fireman boots), and the mud was so thick that when I tried to pick my boot up out of the mire, my foot would come right up out of the boot! It was almost as bad as quicksand!
Dominic showed me where he even cut down trees at the bottom of the hill across from the creek area. This guy was totally determined to find that ring! But even with all his cutting down small trees and tall bushes, his efforts were still not enough to find what he was looking for!
My next focus was to metal detect all over the leaf covered hillside. There was metal here and there but nothing that came up as a precious piece of jewelry like his wife’s engagement ring / wedding band! I searched farther over to the left and farther over to the right and made my way up to the top where the tree line began and then headed back down to the left and right areas once more. My new found friend got out his metal detector that he bought from Amazon a few days before and started searching, as well. If we were in a different location, I would have encouraged the owner of the lost property to refrain from using their detector if it was a cheap device as most homeowners purchase to find lost property. But, in this case, it was an advantage for us to have more searchers because there was only so many pieces of metal out there in the woods. We were looking for a surface find which may have only gone below the surface of the leaf beds. And there were tons of leaves! So, it was quite possible that Dominic could find the missing ring if he looked in areas where he had not searched prior to this evening.
Without reviewing the video (which I have not done yet at the time that I am typing this account), I can only estimate that we spent around 1 hour and 45 minutes of search time and we still came up with nothing. I believe on the video I began to talk with Dominic (and even to myself) about the next strategy that I believed we needed to implement since we were coming up with nothing. I was confident that I had done an excellent search grid all over the property starting from where the tree line began, heading down to the bottom of the hill and working towards the left and right sides that were even out of the range of where Dominic recalled launching the ring.
It was at this point in the search that I told Dominic that we needed to start searching the trees! We came up with absolutely nothing on the ground and I was pretty convinced that unless he chucked the ring way off beyond a 45 degree angle to the left or to the right of the area that he claimed to have seen the ring fly, Ashley’s precious property had to have landed upwards and not on the ground. I started thinking to myself how cool it would be if my theory was correct. I began to dream about finding it on a branch or in a nest of leaves somewhere in a tree above, just as I had daydreamed about it the other day in Boyce, Virginia and in those previous searches many months prior, where I thought it would be so cool to actually find a ring in a tree!
The odds of finding a ring in a tree are almost impossible. But not so in this case. Dominic told me that he had placed his wife's engagement ring on a cord where he tied it around his neck for safekeeping while Abbey went away for a short while. The ring was to hold thoughts of her dear to his heart while she was on her trip. In reviewing the video account, at the time of the search, I was given an initial impression that the engagement / wedding band got separated from the cord before it was launched. But that apparently was not the case. The ring remained on the cord the whole time. So, at this point, when I got more clarification, I started reacessing the "crime scene" and I was more skeptical that the ring could have landed so far from the launch site. I had always questioned whether or not the ring could have really landed so far from the top of the hill, but now I really wondered, knowing that the ring was still tied to the cord. Dominic was convinced of what he saw and justified his account based on what he remembered and he verified that he used extreme force in the actual moment of release. In addition to that, he also used a test ring on a cord to see how far the ring could possibly travel. Excellent strategy on Dominic's part! So I kept with the search in the areas where he swore the ring had traveled until the time that I realized we needed to start searching upwards.
I could tell that he wasn't too fond of my theory even though he himself did some cutting town of some small trees and long branches the other day. But I was so grateful that he agreed to get on board with my vision and he started to assist in any way possible. I first wanted to use our metal detectors and just reach as high as we could to see if the ring landed on branches that were close enough to us without us having to climb or cut limbs down. We exhausted all of those possibilities and then within minutes of completing our metal detecting search in the reachable tree branches, he had come back from his garage with this amazing Silky brand tree cutter and pruner and he began to cut down small trees where I instructed him to do so. Some of these trees were towering maybe 20 feet or so in the air, though nothing was too tall or thick to attack at that point. Once the trees fell, I took my metal detector and swung the coil over all of the fresh branches and leaves to see if metal would be revealed. But unfortunately, nothing turned up.
At some point, we exhausted even that idea of cutting the small trees and branches to possibly expose the lost ring. But, I was still convinced that the ring was not on the ground, but that somehow the ring got lost in the trees. This would mean that Dominic’s recollection of seeing the ring fly straight through a set of trees and down the hill into the darkness was inaccurate. This is not uncommon. People swear by their stories but then they come to find out that they were completely wrong based on the actual reveal of the lost items. Because of their emotional state or sometimes what one may had been drinking or smoking, the mind can absolutely play tricks on you! In this case, drinking and smoking were not involved at the time of the disappearance.
Dominic decided to continue metal detecting down the hill and to go back to his theory that the ring had landed down in the leaves or in the swampy creek. I stayed up at the top of the hill right where the tree line began and I still felt it was important to look up and start scanning the branches and leaves hanging from the trees farther up in the air. Most of these trees were at a 45 degree angle or farther away from the place that Dominic launched the “missile”. Obviously, my search was completely off the course that Dominic swore by.
I was determined to find this ring no matter what it took, and at this point Dominic was fine with me staying out into the early hours of the morning if I had to keep searching. Finally, after many scans with my eyes focusing in the trees, slowly panning from the left to the right and then back to the left again, my eyes focused in on a brilliant little ball of light coming from around 15 feet in the air! As I began to look carefully at this reflective object, I noticed that it was swinging from a camouflage colored cord! I found it! I found the beautiful 14 karat white gold diamond engagement ring / wedding band which was covered with diamonds around the setting! I could not believe it! I was so beyond excited that it took everything in me to keep whispering into the GoPro and to not shout down to Dominic and share the amazing news! All I could do was stare up into the trees and smile back at what was wrapped around a branch or two with leaves everywhere around it! It looked like a snake that had wrapped itself around the branches and leaves! As I continued to be mesmerized by the shear beauty of the ring, it was almost as if it was smiling back at me, knowing that she was about to return to her proper love keeper!
Apparently, according to the location of the find, Dominic had not recalled correctly what had happened to the ring. This is very common as I shared above. When he fired it, his right hand, he released it with a motion that sent it on a 45-degree trajectory to his left and far up into a tree that caught the ring cord just as the tree line began! It did not even travel more than 15 feet into the woods! But it did go farther up and not farther down the hill!
I bet the video will not do justice to convey the stunning appearance and pure brilliance of the diamonds sparkling in every which way as my head light shined directly on the ring!
I wasted no time. I got my point-and-shoot camera out to take still photos and take some video with it, as well. I was not going to lose this opportunity to document such an incredible search and recovery which I may never get a chance to experience quite like this ever again! I was only disappointed that I couldn't get the best pictures because of how high up the ring was and it kept getting blurry when I tried to focus in on it due to using all artificial lighting from my headlight and camera flash.
Once I finished, it was time to share the great news with Dominic who was getting extremely tired and was about to hang it up for the night.
As soon as Dominic got to the top of the hill, I brought him back to the very place where we began talking about the ring launch where he placed the sticks to mark where he threw the ring. I asked him to recount how he threw the ring and where he saw it go between the trees.
Then, I surprised him with my next statement by telling him, “That's not what happened at all”. He responded with this extremely perplexed look on his face trying to process why I would make such a statement. And then I revealed the news that I had found the ring! Dominic was so shocked and so happy all at the same time! I have to tell you that I was so full of elation at that very moment of giving him the rundown as to where the ring ended up! I was given such a gift to come out and actually retrieve a ring in a tree! I don't care what the reader thinks regarding the existence of God, because I knew He existed prior to this scenario and I was absolutely convinced that I was given the desire of my heart to be involved with such a search where I would discover a ring in a tree, just as I had asked God to give me such a search just several days before this one, and again, over the past many months prior! What are the odds of that?! At one in the morning, I called Chris Turner, the founder and CEO of The Ring finders in British Columbia, Canada, and he said that he had never experienced something like this in a search in the many decades that he has been doing this. Although, he said he did find a ring stuck in a tall hedge tree (the ones that grow really tall that provide privacy between homes).
Dominic could not believe it! He was dumbfounded and yet so relieved all at the same time! He was kind enough to give me some more time in taking some additional pictures and video. While he kept his Maglite shining up there in the trees, I shined my headlamp on the ring, as well, to get the best images I could with the limitations of artificial light shining on such a brilliance and sparkling piece of beauty!
Dominic eventually did the honors of cutting the branch down, which the ring cord had tied itself around for the past couple of days! He did the procedure with his extremely tall tree cutter that he used earlier in the evening. The ring was now safely back into the hands of the one who had picked out that gorgeous prize many years ago and who presented it to his beloved bride-to-be over years ago!
I won't forget how excited the two of us were out there at the foot of the woods just high-fiving each other and hugging knowing that we found the mysterious lost ring! This had explained why all of his metal detecting and all of my time searching ended up with no results! Dominic even said that he would have never looked where I ended up spotting it. My thoughts are that he probably would have seen it one day, but no one will ever know just how much time would have gone by if he wasn’t totally focused and looking up at that very spot in the tree and not tuned in towards the common areas to search on the ground.
The two of us gathered up our gear around midnight and headed back to his garage with the biggest smiles on our faces and on our hearts! This could not have been a more successful and more exciting conclusion to my search that night! After I took some additional photos under Dominic's carport, the two of us shook hands, gave a gentleman’s hug and wished each other well as I got into my vehicle and headed back home (about an hour and fifteen minutes away) traveling into the night.
What a fantastic recovery! I know I will never forget this night ever! I think I thanked Dominic just as much as he thanked me because I got such a thrill out of this search-and-recovery! Like I said before, I don’t care what any of you think, I really believe that God truly gave me the desire of my heart with being a part of this kind of search because I only started doing searches for people starting last year and I just started daydreaming about being a part of such a story just in the last few months leading right up to several days ago! This is something that could have never happened or if it would happen, who knows how many years or decades might have gone by before witnessing this kind of search! But no, When the Bible says,
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you, as well.” - Matthew 6:33
I really believe God did give me a gift to be a part of finding Abbey’s gorgeous ring and to forever hold a story that will be cherished for many years to come, all because I have been seeking Him first in my life! I consider this a little "extra love gift" from above! It has no Heavenly value, but just a little expression from Him that says, 'You wanted it, ok, here, have fun with it, and know I am in your life even in the smaller, less important things of life."
Thanks Dominic for contacting me to help you on your search for the missing ring! Also, I personally want to thank Chris Turner for creating such an amazing directory - The Ring Finders, in order for people to connect with metal detectorists around the world to experience such stories as I have just shared with you all!