Evans, 22, of Portsmouth, is a 2003 graduate of West High School. He had only had his ring for a few months in 2001 while still attending Portsmouth High School.
His family took a vacation that summer where the precious ring would be lost in the vast beaches of Clearwater, Fla., seemingly never to be seen again.
“We were swimming in the ocean when it fell off,” Evans said. “I was pretty upset. I realized it as soon as it fell off, I just couldn't find it.”
He said he searched the beach for more than an hour, and offered a man with a metal detector $50 to find it, but the ring did not turn up.
Several days later, it was found by an unidentified man with a metal detector. He held onto the ring for nearly six years until a friend, Mark Prue, introduced him to Karen Leonardi, of Pennsylvania.
Leonardi had helped Prue in the past to locate the owners of items he had found using his metal detector, and decided to see if she could help them find the owner of this ring as well.
There wasn't much to identify where the ring came from; only the graduation year, the letters “P.H.S.”, and Evans' name engraved inside the band. No state or school name was found anywhere on the ring.
Leonardi went to a popular Web site to look for Evans' name among graduation records from all across the U.S. she tried to find him using the graduation year and the school letters. The list slowly was narrowed to two possible choices, but after checking the middle initials, Leonardi was left with only Brandon Evans of Portsmouth, Ohio.
She called Portsmouth High School to find out how to get in touch with Evans, only to discover that his mother, Cathi Evans, worked for the school. After speaking with Cathi, Leonardi was convinced she had found the ring's rightful owner.
The whole search, Cathi Evans said, took only two weeks to undo six years of separation.
“It really shocked me that it came back,” Brandon Evans said. “You really don't find too many people like that, who just don't really want anything. They find something that's yours and they say, ‘hey, here it is.' She didn't even ask for anything to pay the shipping.”
Brandon said he doesn't wear the ring much anymore, but he was glad to have it back where it belongs.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.