Woman who lost diamond ring down toilet: 'Miracles do happen'
KUNA, Idaho (KBOI) - Mechelle Rieger had lost all hope almost a year and a half ago when she accidentally flushed her diamond wedding ring down the toilet.
"I was freaking out," Rieger said. "It was horrible, and I just started screaming - I stuck my hands down the toilet, but the ring took off and it was long gone."
Rieger's husband, Paul, did everything he could like a good husband would.
He took the toilet apart, went underneath the house into the crawl space to try and track it down through the pipes. But her diamond ring was gone.
Rieger, understandably, was devastated.
"My husband and I have a lot of years together, and I was just so sad," she said.
But Rieger's luck was about to change. It just happened to be nearly 18 months later.
Last week, two city of Kuna sewer workers found a diamond ring in the Goldcreek subdivision while performing routine maintenance. A filtration basket managed to capture the ring.
"I thought it was fake at first," said Carey Knight, a waste water operator who discovered the ring. "After I got it cleaned up I could tell it was real."
Knight and co-worker Travis Fleming took the ring into the mayor's office the very next day. At the time, they had no idea whether the ring had been stuck in the sewer for five days or five years.
As it turns out? It had been there about a year and a half.
"Some lady was probably really distraught," Knight told KBOI-TV on Monday. "She lost a beautiful ring."
After the story was published on KBOI2.com, the story of the lost diamond ring soon went national - CNN.com picked up the story as well as CBS affiliates throughout the United States. Folks from around the country phoned into Kuna City Hall claiming the ring belonged to them. They used to live in Kuna and lost the ring, the callers would say.
"We were getting calls from states all over - even one from Virginia," said Chris Engels, who works at city hall.
But the true owner of the ring has been in the Treasure Valley all this time.
"I received a voice mail from a friend and I just started screaming in the car," she said. "I was like, 'oh my gosh that's my ring,'" she said.
City Hall had closed for the day, so Rieger had to wait overnight. She had just enough time to go Simmons Jewelry in Boise where she had the ring customed made and appraised back in March of 2001. Her jeweler pulled up the record, which included a photo.
Rieger showed up at Kuna City Hall Thursday morning with her documents and a smile. And she did it on no sleep, she says.
"She was just so happy and excited," Engels said. "She was here first thing in the morning."
Fleming and Knight were there, too, to meet the bubbly woman.
"We all took pictures and I gave them hugs," Rieger said. "I am so thankful for them."
Rieger is now happily wearing the ring again. She told KBOI-TV that it's going to be hard to concentrate at work today.
It's hard when you're that happy.
"My ring is a symbol of love and it's always there," she said. "This is the best present ever."
Mechelle and her husband will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary June 13. And it shouldn't be a surprise that this year's milestone will be a little more special.
"Miracles do happen and I have my ring back," she said. "I think that's a really good sign."