Terry Elliott reunited a lost ring with its owner. (submitted photo) (for Saskatoon StarPhoenix Feb. 2019)
“Another cold case,” retired RCMP Inspector Terry Elliott jokes about his nearly three-decade quest to reunite a lost wedding ring with its owner.Elliott brought to bear all his investigative techniques, but in the end “the cybersleuths” cracked the case, he said.Like all good mysteries, this one was replete with dead ends and false leads.The tale began on April 15, 1992, when Elliott was vacationing in the Bahamas. While snorkelling around a coral reef off an unclaimed island, he spotted the ring on the seabed below, a men’s 14K gold wedding band, size 9 1/2.He found an inscription inside the ring: “Darrin & Leah 30-11-91 2xForever.” That last tidbit — “2xForever” — he kept to himself.“That was my holdback information,” he chuckles. Anyone who tried to claim the ring would have to know it was there.At the time, Elliott was still an active member of the RCMP, based in Regina.He did what any self-respecting Mountie would do: he launched a search for the couple. First he checked the manifest of the cruise ship he was sailing on, for the period from the wedding date to the date he’d found the ring. That didn’t pan out. He learned four other cruise lines also used the island, so he checked their manifests, too.Nothing.Next he took the ring to a gemologist in Regina, who told him the wordmark on the ring suggested it was made either in Tuscany or by the K. Mayne Co. in Edmonton. Elliott checked the latter, but the company had gone out of business and no records were available. A check with the Canadian Jewellers Association in Toronto yielded no fresh information.From that point, Elliott ran ads in the Edmonton Journal — every year at first, then eventually every three or four years.In late 2011 he spoke to Sarath Peiris at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, who ran the story of Elliott’s ongoing search. Still nothing.Then this year, on Jan. 28, Elliott posted a photo of the ring on his Facebook page and asked his friends for help.That generated 2,500 shares. Then someone put it on the Reddit website, where it got 25,000 shares, Elliott said.It was his first break in the case. People across the U.S. started searching for any couple named Darrin and Leah who were married in their state on that date.Someone found a “Darrin and Leah” in Florida, and sent Elliott their wedding photo. It was a same-sex couple, two women. He concluded they weren’t the Darrin and Leah he was looking for.Then three separate people told Elliott they were sure they’d found the person he was looking for, Darrin Reznick in New Jersey. One of his informants provided a phone number. Elliott dialed and left a message.Asked what made him pursue the case so doggedly, he said, “I thought they’d be looking for it. And I thought it would be a nice story if they get their ring back after all those years.”About a week after he left his message, Elliott got a call back, at 7 a.m. It was Darrin, and he didn’t want his ring back. He and Leah had divorced in 2000, she had moved to another state. Darrin had remarried.Still looking for a happy ending, Elliott offered to sell the ring and donate the proceeds to a charity of Darrin’s choice. He learned Darrin’s mother Nancy had died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago.Elliott sold the ring to one of his neighbours, a jeweller, for $160. He is giving the money to the Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation. He’s also encouraging other people to donate. If everyone who shared the Facebook and Reddit posts contributes $5 it would add up to about $100,000, he reasons.Elliott’s detective work also turned up a useful tip. The gemologist told him it’s common for people to lose their wedding rings on their honeymoon. Often, the rings haven’t been sized properly, and when fingers shrivel after being submerged in water (while snorkelling, for instance), they slip off all the more easily.Newlyweds and soon-to-be-marrieds, take note.