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Anniversary diamond found at Ball Memorial Hospital after 12 years

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MUNCIE, Ind. (Jan. 21, 2016) – A little local mystery, now solved. At the IU Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, an anniversary ring diamond pops out of the setting and disappears for almost a dozen years. Then, just weeks after the couple’s 50th anniversary, it’s found in a filing cabinet of the hospital.

About twelve years ago, Claire Lee who works at IU Ball Memorial, looked down and discovered that the diamond from her 25th anniversary engagement ring was missing. This was just before her office was about to move to a new building on the hospital campus.

“I was absolutely devastated,” said Claire. Immediately she and her colleagues began franticly looking for the missing diamond. “We searched and searched, and crawled on the floors and went through filing cabinets and went through drawers.”

But alas, the diamond was nowhere to be found.

She even had to tell her husband Bill about what happened. He vividly remembers that day as well.

“Like most husbands… ‘What happened to the car?’” joked Bill Lee, Claire’s husband. “And she said ‘It’s not that, I’ve lost my diamond.’”

Encouraging her staff and husband to pray to Saint Anthony ("the patron saint of lost and stolen articles"), Claire says she never let her husband replace the diamond even though he wanted to.

“I thought that at some point in time I’ll get it back,” said Claire. “I just had that thought.”

Years went by and staff came and went. But it became well known throughout the office to always be on the lookout for the diamond.

“Everyone knew about it, so every once in a while the story would resurface,” said Laura Brandt, who has been working at the hospital for more than five years.

Then, three days before Christmas, Brandt decided to clean out one of the office filing cabinets.

“And I looked and I saw this diamond, and I just kinda froze in my tracked…and then screamed,” recalls Brandt. “I said ‘I think I just found Claire’s diamond!’”

This was just weeks after Claire and Bill had celebrated their 50th anniversary.

“I called her and the elation I could hear in her voice and I could hear Bill in the background,” said Brandt. “This was just music to my ears.”

Claire and Bill say they’re very grateful for Brandt finding the ring, and the faith of her staff all these years. But they say, what’s most important is the more than 50 years they’ve been together.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if it as the plain gold wedding band from fifty years ago or this diamond,” said Claire. “It’s about the fact that we’ve had a good life and a lasting marriage.”

Just ask Bill, he agrees:  “And like I say, she’s my diamond."