Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

July 24, 2013

40 years later, lost bracelet to be reunited with owner

AMERICUS, Ga. — A charm bracelet that was stolen from its owner in Georgia in 1973, washed up on a Texas beach 20 years later, and sat idle in its discoverer's jewelry box for another 20 years is finally being reunited with its owner, thanks to the power of social media.

Joan Mitchell of Winnie, Texas, said she found the bracelet in 1993 or 1994, on a beach near Galveston, Texas. She said she placed an ad in a Galveston newspaper, but when no one responded, she put the bracelet in her jewelry box and forgot about it.

"There was no Internet then, so I put it away," she said, adding that she would sometimes conduct computer searches on lost items as technology advanced. She never had any luck.

Recently, she was looking through her jewelry box and found the charm bracelet again.

"I thought, 'I bet we can find the owner now,'" she said, and she posted a photo and message on Facebook on Friday.

The message said the bracelet had charms that read "Merle," and "Beth," as well as one that read "Americus HIgh School." In just a few days, the photo was shared nearly 8,000 times on Facebook.

"It went crazy," Mitchell said.

One of the people who saw the post was Jeri Ann Faircloth, who discovered that the charm bracelet belonged to her aunt, Jen Buchanan of Americus, Ga. Merle and Beth are her brother and sister.

Faircloth said in a Facebook post that her aunt’s house was burglarized in 1973, and the bracelet was stolen.

Mitchell said she plans to pack the bracelet and send it to Faircloth so she can return it to its owner.

"It couldn't have been in the water 20 years because it's not that corroded," Mitchell said. "I have no idea how it got to a beach in Texas."

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