Message written by Katrina victim returned eight years after storm

Aug. 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A New Orleans woman has been reunited with a letter she wrote, stuffed into a bottle and tossed into rising floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina, a report says.

The letter, written by Angela Caballeros when she was 14, was returned to her by a National Forest Service Ranger who found the bottle during relief efforts after the storm eight years ago, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Wednesday.

Caballeros wrote the letter Aug. 29, 2005, while stranded in her home with family members. She put the letter inside a plastic Big Shot pop bottle and tossed into the swirling water rising around her house.

The letter was found three weeks later by a team headed by Park Ranger Rob Turan.

"Our roof is gone. Our roof is in the water," the letter read. Angela hoped her friends and relatives were okay, that her family would survive.

"If anyone is reading this, keep me and my family in your prayers, and I will you in mine. God Bless," the letter concluded.

Turan said, "For me, it put an exclamation point on the storm and gave it a human face."

He made copies of the letter and handed them out to other Park Service employees. Turan framed the original from the bottle. For nearly eight years, he looked at it every day and wondered about the fate of the teenage writer.

Angela wondered over the years if anyone had found the bottle.

Last week, her curiosity was resolved. Turan drove from his current office in Chattanooga, Tenn., to give the letter back to her in New Orleans. The two had been brought together by a journalist who heard about the letter from another Park Service ranger whom Turan had asked to look for Angela.

"I didn't know my letter was going to mean so much to somebody," the now 22-year-old college senior told Turan.

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