Sheila Hatfield never expected to lose her wedding ring, but when her toddler ran off with it one day, she and her husband were resigned to the idea that it was gone forever -- until it turned up in the unlikeliest of places 11 years later.
"I now know I can find treasure absolutely anywhere," Hatfield, of Broomfield, Colorado, told KDVR.
Early one morning in 2006, Hatfield's daughter, 3-year-old Kiara, plucked the ring from its spot on her mom's nightstand -- and that was the last anyone ever thought they would see of it.
"I heard them go chink, chink and I'm like: 'Oh my gosh, where's my ring?'" Sheila recounted.
She and her husband, Larry, spent hours searching the whole house, but despite their best efforts frantically pawing through bookshelves, furniture and the carpet, they came up empty.
"I was in tears for a lot of nights wondering why it happened and where it could be," she said.
They tried everything they could think of, even putting cameras down the vents and phoning several psychics for their help. But it was to no avail, and they eventually had to let it go.
As these things tend to do, the ring finally popped up when least expected in a place nobody thought to look.
On Sept. 4, 2017, Kiara, now a teenager, was trying to access the back of their garage but had to move a few things around, since they were remodeling the house. The family's old toilet was sitting in there, and Kiara pushed it aside, when all of a sudden a dull, gunky thing caught Sheila's attention.
"I was looking at it and Larry's like: 'What is that?'" Sheila recalled. "And I was like: 'Do you know what this is? It's my wedding ring.'"
Of course, it didn't register right away that the calcium and hard water-crusted object was the missing ring.
"I just looked down and I saw this old rusty washer covered in gunk and I'm like: 'Ew,'" she explained, later adding that she hoped "it was in the tank and not in the bottom" of the toilet all those years.
How did it get there? They have no idea. But they sure are happy to have it back.
Remarkable though it may be, this is far from the first time that a missing wedding ring has popped up in a surprising location. In August, a woman was dumbfounded to find her long-lost engagement band wrapped around a home-grown carrot, notes BBC. In another unlikely reunion, a vacationing couple spotted their ring wedged into a crack in a sidewalk in Italy, nine years after they lost it in the area, according to USA Today.