Amateur sleuth finds, returns long lost diamond ring

Human Interest

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Geologists believe that all of Earth’s commercial diamond deposits formed in the mantle and were brought to the surface by deep-source volcanic eruptions.

Eileen Korey also believes they come from steering wheels.

The Lake Oswego resident found a diamond ring sitting by the tray in her Subaru cupholder after taking the car in when it was recalled over an airbag issue.

Eileen Korey found a diamond engagement ring in the cupholders of this Subaru after its airbag was fixed, then tracked down the owner, May 2019 (Courtesy: Eileen Korey)

“I literally got in the car and there was this tiny little diamond ring sitting on the tray by the cupholders,” Korey told KOIN 6 News. “It looked real, beautifully set, so I took it inside thinking maybe the service technician had lost it.”

But the service technician said they found the ring when they were taking car of the airbag issue. They pulled the steering wheel away from the casing and it fell out.

Her son-in-law said they bought the car used in 2015. Korey said he texted them to ask if they lost a diamond ring in their car.

“My daughter’s response on text was ‘Huh!!!’ and my son-in-law’s response was ‘Oh, no. That’s my second wife’s ring,” she said, laughing.

Korey, a former reporter, knew there was a story to be found and told. 

She got the ring appraised — a real diamond between one-third and one-half carat valued at about $1200.

“I went into the glove compartment and I got out all the original sales paperwork and found it was bought at” Carr Subaru in Beaverton. 

The dealership was able to help contact the original owner and told Korey they’d given her name to the man who said he had lost an engagement ring in 2014.

Eileen Korey found a diamond engagement ring in the cupholders of a Subaru after its airbag was fixed, then tracked down the owner's,husband Daniel Hannah, May 2019 (Courtesy: Eileen Korey)

Daniel Hannah was out fishing when he got the call from the dealership. 

“This is a weird phone call,” he said he told them. “They said, ‘We think we know someone who found it.’ So they gave me Eileen’s number.”

He called and “he was just listening,” Korey said.  He picked up the ring from Eileen Korey on May 6.

“I said to him, ‘Daniel, what did your wife think when you told her?’ And he said, “I haven’t told her yet. I want to give it back to her for Mother’s Day.'”

Daniel said he’d forgotten all about it but getting it back “was a fun surprise. It was hard not telling her until Mother’s Day.”

He gave the ring to their 5-year-old to give to his mom.  “Her reaction was really good,” Daniel said, laughing.

At first she was astonished when she thought Daniel had gotten her a ring for Mother’s Day, but then she realized it was her lost engagement ring.

Ashleigh Hannah's long lost diamond engagement ring was found in the cupholders of a Subaru after its airbag was fixed, then rreturned by the woman who found it, May 2019 (Courtesy: Hannah family)

“I mean, anyone else would have hocked it or gave it to somebody else,” Daniel said, “so it was cool to get it back.”

The day the ring was lost

Ashleigh Hannah remembered exactly how she lost the ring on a hot August day in 2014, about 3 months after their first son was born. Her wedding band and engagement ring weren’t soldered together.

That day they went through an ATM. Ashleigh was sitting in the passenger seat “and I flung my arm across the car and there goes both rings, right across the car.”

The window was open. They pulled, searched the car and the parking lot and found the wedding band. 

But not the engagement ring.

“I was devastated. I was devastated.”

Ashleigh Hannah's long lost diamond engagement ring was found in the cupholders of a Subaru after its airbag was fixed, then rreturned by the woman who found it, May 2019 (Courtesy: Hannah family)

She got a new ring about 2 years ago and got them soldered so they’re “stuck together and a little bit biggere and harder to lose.”

When she saw the ring on Mother’s Day, she “could not believe it. I’m grateful. Now I have to figure something fun to do with it, you know, maybe make a necklace out of it, like a pendant.”

Ashleigh Hannah said it’s unbelievable that after 5 years and 2 cars “and everything she went through to find us, yeah, it’s pretty incredible.”

Eileen Korey said this happy story began with a safety recall.

“Starting with an airbag recall, an honest service technician and a little mystery that needed to be solved, that was great. Warmed my heart. It was wonderful.”

Eileen Korey found a diamond engagement ring in the cupholders of a Subaru after its airbag was fixed, then tracked down the owner's,husband Daniel Hannah, May 2019 (Courtesy: Eileen Korey)

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