Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A New York state man who lost his class ring while waterskiing was reunited with his lost item 49 years later.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office said James Newman lost his Washingtonville High School class of 1970 ring in 1971, while he was waterskiing with friends at Swinging Bridge Lake, near Monticello, N.Y.
Swinging Bridge Marina owner Bill Croissant and his son, Mike, found the ring in the muck more than a decade later when the reservoir was drained by Orange and Rockland Utilities.
The lake was drained again between 2005-2007, and the action reminded Bill Croissant of the ring that was still in his possession after a failed attempt to identify the owner.
Croissant turned the ring over to Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff, who said his office got a printout of Washingtonville High School's class of 1970, but deputies were unable to find a definite match with the ring's description. He said the graduates who seemed like the ring's potential owners had moved away.
The ring was left in an evidence locker until this year, when deputies started delving into cold cases amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schiff enlisted the help of sheriff's Detective Sgt. Jason Gorr, a member of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, who used new databases to narrow down the list of potential ring owners to a single name: James Newman, who now lives in Atlanta.
"Mr. Newman was shocked when he got the call," Schiff said. "He had totally forgotten about the ring and couldn't believe that it was found."
Newman was reunited with his ring in time for his 50th high school reunion.
"A graduation ring has great sentimental value. It was gratifying to be able to return it to the owner after all these years," the sheriff said.