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Hello all,

A number of years ago I was one of the the first people to come upon a motorcycle accident in which 3 people lost their lives.  During the passing of one of the women she took her wedding ring off at some point which was found about a week later by someone who had come to see the wreck site.  I thought it was strange that I didn’t see it since I was by her side at the time of passing but it was good that the ring was returned to her family.  I also remembered seeing somewhere that apparently when someone passes quickly they will sometimes take off clothes and restrictive items.

I then remembered that in the mountains where I live a mother and daughter got lost, their bodies were found 2 years later.  Animals had strewn their bodies about.  I’ve considered for the last 2 years or so to go up there with my metal detector to see if I couldn’t find any sentimental jewelry to return to the Father/husband, I would give it to the sheriff to return to the family if I found anything.

My dilemma is this.  By all accounts this could be considered a gravesite and should not be disturbed at all.  Another part of me, the father/husband part of me, would relish to have any piece of my loved ones returned and if I knew I could get them nothing would stop me from having them back.

since I’ve not been able to decide if this is right or wrong I haven’t even visited the site.  I’d like to hear your thoughts if this is ethical and right to consider doing this.  If it would affect your decision, there is a possibility that I would find small skeletal remains as well that were missed by the search and rescue crews.  

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No matter what you do someone will say that you did wrong.

With that said, I would go and give it my best to find something to give back to the relatives, as it may give them some type of closure of their loss.

Good luck on your decision.

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I would put forth your concern to the local police.  Ask them in similar cases were people comforted by what was found or returned.

Then ask them specifically about this case and see if they want to relay the message to the family and only contact them if you find something.  I think they should give you permission to search for personal items and they may tell you what was being worn at the time.


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   I'm in line with those above!

   One more consideration is who actually owns the land in question! Funneling this through the proper authorities may save time and potential legal issues! Morally, I think it's a noble gesture, and may warrant the help of more than one detectorist! Especially if greenlighted by all involved, if there is indeed something important to be found! That being remains, and/or personal belongs! A lot to think about! Good luck!! Keep us posted!👍👍

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Let me advance the topic a little bit out of the dilemma category.

I belong to a metal detecting club in Southern California that has a group of dedicated people who are called upon by the police to help them find evidence.  They are called upon to find evidence in recent crimes which may be bullet fragments or other objects used in a crime.

Sometimes this involves searching around areas where bodies have been found.

You may want to offer your detecting services to your local police.  The people in our group that do it have to have background checks before they are allowed to assist.  There are procedures (chain of custody) to be followed so that evidence can be used if discovered.

Maybe everyone here could offer to help their local departments if you have the time or inclination. 

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I am on board with the comments above...  in my opinion there is a difference between someone losing family heirlooms during their untimely and unfortunate passing, and a grave site that family heirlooms are put to rest with their owners with purpose.  Having said that, I may consider reaching out through the police department to over communicate your purest of intentions, which may lead to permission from the family.  A similar undertaking may have already been done with coordination from the police department and you would potentially find out about that as well.  

Personally, I would be grateful if someone returned a loved ones belongings, but as we know, different people have different reactions.  Good luck, and I hope you are able to reunite any lost items with the family.  


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I just wanted to add that I have been fortunate enough to return jewelry that has been lost - but not from a lost loved one.  But, if you want to see how much it may mean to some... watch the end of this video 🙂



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I'm 50/50 on it. Although it may sound like a good idea from your point of view and it may make you happy to be able to help, it may be the exact opposite from the husbands point of view. It may trigger scenes of what happened to them and open up partially healed wounds. He would relive it all over again. I'm torn like you, as I would love to return something to him. But I think the best advice already given was to contact law enforcement and have them reach out to the husband and give them your contact info. Who knows it may be an outright NO, but maybe later on, maybe years later, he may need that favor. You never know how people deal with tragedy or what stage in healing they are in. 

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