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American's missing class ring turns up in Finnish forest 47 years later

The grateful owner still does not have a clue how the ring ended up more than 6,000 km from where she lost it.

Marko Saarinen löysi sen kaarinalaisesta metsästä Varsinais-Suomesta.
An American ring lost 47 years ago was found in Finland. Image: Marko Saarinen

About a month ago, Marko Saarinen, a metal detector hobbyist in the small Finnish town of Kaarina, found an unusual ring in the forest.

However, he had no idea what would ensue after looking for its owner. It turned out to be a high school class ring that went missing in Portland, Maine, on the northeast coast of the US in 1973.

It's owner, Deborah McKenna, says she accidentally left it in a Portland department store restroom nearly a half century ago, according to to local Maine paper the Bangor Daily News.

"I left my name and number [at the store] but never got contacted by anybody, and that was it," McKenna told the Bangor paper. “I never saw it again."

The ring had been given to her by the man she would eventually marry, Shawn McKenna. The couple dated throughout high school and college and married in 1977, according to the paper.

Deborah says Shawn — who died a few years ago — actually briefly worked in Finland in the 1990s, but the ring had already been missing for many years by then. Deborah also says her husband never travelled to Kaarina, where the ring was eventually found.

Story continues after photo.

Marko Saarinen löysi sen kaarinalaisesta metsästä Varsinais-Suomesta.
Image: Marko Saarinen

When Saarinen examined the ring he found with his metal detecting equipment, he saw that it bore the Morse High School logo. He contacted the school's alumni association and they looked into who the ring belonged to based on the year and the initials inscribed on it.

When Saarinen received the details of who owned the ring, he sent it to Debra, who was extremely grateful to have it back.

"It's very touching in this world of negativity, to have decent people step forward and make an effort," she told the paper. "There are good people in the world, and we need more of them."

Several other newspapers including The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The New York Times have also reported on the story.

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