Celebration rings! Minnesotan reunited with jewelry 13 years after flushing it

A woman holds a ring
Mary Strand holds up her found ring in Rogers, Minn., on Wednesday.
Jacob Aloi | MPR News

Updated: May 18, 8:32 a.m. | Posted: May 17, 4:46 p.m.

Mary Strand hadn’t thought much about her diamond ring after she accidentally flushed it down the toilet. Now, 13 years later, she and the ring are reunited.  

“I couldn't believe it. It was very exciting ... I'm just glad to have it back,” Strand told reporters at a press conference today.  

Over a decade ago, the ring, which was a gift from Mary’s husband David for their 33rd wedding anniversary, was flushed away. Since the Strands own a drain cleaning business, they attempted to rescue Mary’s jewelry the same day she lost it.  

“They put the camera down the line and they couldn't see anything,” Mary said. After checking over 200 feet of pipes, the ring was nowhere to be found.  

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Last March, the ring was found at the wastewater treatment plant in Rogers, less than a thousand feet from the Strand’s house. They first learned of the ring's discovery from their daughter, who had read it in the news.  

“[We were] at a meat raffle,” Mary recalled. “And my daughter called me, and she said ‘Mom, you're never going to believe this.’” 

After two jewelers assessed that it was a likely match to the one Mary lost over a decade ago, she was able to reunite with the ring. While its journey to the wastewater treatment plant is uncertain, Maintenace Manager John Tierney is glad this is the outcome.  

“This is the best of my expectations,” Tierney said. “[People] who genuinely had a love for each other and accidentally lost that ring and then it was found and delivered? That was the ideal story.” 

A diamond ring
David Strand holds his wife's diamond ring that has been missing for thirteen years in Rogers, Minn., on Wednesday. It was found at a waste water treatment plant last month.
Jacob Aloi | MPR News

It isn’t the first time Mary Strand has lost a ring, though.  

“One time my mom gave me a gold band,” Mary said. “I used to smoke, and I was driving down 35W and I threw the cigarette out the window and there went the ring.”  

Her husband David pointed out that losing things is a reoccurring theme in their household.  

“Before we came here, she was looking for her glasses,” David chuckled. 

It seems that Mary takes it all in stride. 

“My whole life is a comedy show,” Mary said with a smile.  

Mary plans to have the diamonds refitted and the ring resized.  

Correction (May 18, 2023): An earlier version of this story misstated when the ring was found. The story has been updated.