More than 20 years later, class ring returned to owner

Published: January 26, 2006 | 3373rd good news item since 2003

Janet Leigh West assumed her class ring was gone for good.

West believed the ring, missing for more than 20 years, had been stolen from her jewelry box while she was living in South Richmond. That was in 1985.

“There were really only two suspects,” she said. “One is dead, and I don’t know about the other.”

The 49-year-old mother of three had pretty much written off ever finding the ring until this week.

“I got it back yesterday!” she exclaimed, adding that someone had found it in an apartment in Newport, N.C., and sent it back to her old school.

“My momma went and picked it up,” she said.

West might never know how the ring with the bright-blue stone got to North Carolina or why the band, engraved with her initials, had been cut in half. West thinks the person who was wearing it must have gotten in an accident and that it had to be removed quickly.

“It’s spooky,” she said, running her finger along the ragged edge.

As she sorted a stack of clothes Tuesday at Hanover Cleaners in Mechanicsville, where she is a manager, West remarked that she was shocked that someone took the time to send the ring back and that her old school was able to track her down.

West attended Amelia Academy in Amelia County until 1975, when she dropped out to marry. She would have graduated in 1976. The private school, which teaches grades kindergarten through 12, has about 180 students. Back in the 1970s, school officials said, the senior class would have had about 15 students.

Tina Sibley, who lives in Newport, didn’t know any of this. The only thing she knew was that she had found someone’s class ring and that she was going to try to do what she could to return it.

“I thought, ‘This is odd,'” Sibley said, explaining how she found the ring while cleaning the apartment of a woman who had just died.

“I did not know what Amelia Academy was, so I got online and looked it up.”

Sibley called the school and spoke with Carol Chambers, the school’s business manager. Chambers couldn’t find any graduate whose name matched the initials JLW. Noticing the Class of 1976 on the ring, Chambers called one of West’s former classmates, Debbie Poore.

Poore remembered West.

“I couldn’t believe it,” West said.

Sibley said she only did what she hoped someone would do for her.

West isn’t sure if the ring is a sign telling her to go back to school.

Either way, she said, “I’m gonna have it fixed.”

Published in Found
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