For this young boy, his average day of going fishing did not turn out as he thought it would. When his uncle heard the young boy start to yell, he turned around to see what the fuss was about. When he saw that his fishing rod had a deep curve to it, he thought for sure that the young boy had caught something.
Catch Of The Day
The man realized that the young boy couldn’t control the rod on his own, so he went over to help him, but neither of them was expecting to see this on the other end of the rod. When they pulled out a piece of leather from the water, they realized this was not a fish at all!
Fishing With The Boys
Brodie Brooks, who was 11 years old at the time, couldn’t wait to spend his day fishing with his friends. He had recently been gifted a brand new fishing rod for his birthday, so he couldn’t wait to get out on the water and put it to use.
Out On The Lake
If one thing is for sure, it’s that not one person on this fishing trip expected anything out of every day ordinary to happen on this day. They thought they would be sitting on the water waiting to catch a small fish, not pulling with all their might and reeling in an old sunken purse.
The males were out on Lake Hartwell in Anderson County in South Carolina, waiting patiently in hopes of catching a big fish. They all took the boat out together and cast their rods into the water to wait together. They were hoping for a relaxing day on the water.
After they all put their fishing rods out into the water, they all sat around and exchanged a few jokes with one another. When they all woke up that morning, they had no expectation of even catching something, let alone having to alert the authorities because of what ended up on the end of their rod.
Getting A Bite
The adult that was with the group of young boys was named Ben Myers; he taught Brodie how to bait his new fishing rod and how to cast it out into the water. Despite being a fishing natural, Ben never expected that his teaching skills would lead Brodie to catch something like this.
From Astonishment To Fear
We are sure that you can only imagine how surprised Ben was to hear that Brodie had actually caught something and needed help reeling it in. Ben’s huge amount of excitement quickly turned to fear when he saw just what Brodie had caught on his fishing rod.
A Big Catch
“I felt like it was a big fish because it was bobbing my rod up and down,” Brodie explained. He mentioned that he actually remembers this day perfectly, “I’d just gotten an Ugly Stik, so I was scared I was gonna break my rod.”
But What Was It?
“…I was scared the line was going to snap.” Once Brodie was able to reel the bag out of the water fully, he opened it up to see what was inside. When he noticed the contents of the bag, he got chills all up and down his body and immediately asked Ben for some extra help in what to do here.
When Ben first glanced at the purse it was easy for him to tell that it was pretty old, but at first sight, he didn’t really realize just how old it was. Once Ben took a closer look inside the bag, he found a missing puzzle piece that helped him discover just how long that bag had been underwater.
In Good Shape
Despite the leather being faded and worn out, the purse was in pretty good shape for how old it was. When the two guys opened up the purse to look inside, they saw that some of the items were completely unrecognizable, but that some others were still in mint condition. When Ben saw this one item, in particular, his jaw dropped.
At first, the growing boy was upset that he didn’t actually catch a huge fish as he had hoped. He said he really thought it was a fish because of the way it was bouncing up and down on the rod. He thought he caught a huge fish, but he was nervous that it was so big that his rod would snap.
What Was Inside
The drenched purse had a lot of things inside, many of which left the boys speechless. Old and nearly unrecognizable photographs were one of the staples of what was first found in the bag, but the did not help to solve the mystery of whom the bag belonged to.
A Bag Full Of Things
They kept looking around the bag in hopes of finding a clue as to whose bag it is. Some of the items they found were bank cards, cash keys, a whole wallet, a planner, and cosmetics. The mysterious bag owner sure liked to keep a lot of stuff on them at all times.
First Time For Everything
When interviewed, Ben explained, “We might catch a can here or something like that. But as far as a woman’s purse, that’s a first for me,” he continued, “I’ve been fishing on this lake all my life, and that’s the first time I saw something be caught like this.”
A Familiar Face
When they got back to dry land and continued looking through the contents of the purse, the men noticed something. Ben realized that he thought he might actually know the possible owner of the purse! What a small world. Was he right?
He knew that he recognized her from his childhood, but he couldn’t put his finger on exactly when or where he had met her. After staring at the photos for a few minutes and thinking about it, he realized that he grew up going to school with her nephew, but he hadn’t seen her in over ten years.
He thought he was imagining things. He said, “You fish up a purse for one, then you actually know whose it was. It was crazy.” Catching a purse on the other end of your fishing rod is weird enough, but imagine it belonging to someone that you know.
In Remarkable Shape
Unbelievably, most of the items were still in amazing shape, despite being underwater for 30 years. When Ben continued to look through the bag, he found more store cards, old lipsticks, and a hair comb, all of which were still in good condition given the circumstances.
There were still many questions running through their minds; who did the bag really belong to? How long had it been underwater? Perhaps the biggest question still lingering was how did the bag get in the water in the first place?
Some of the photos were of people, and just by looking at them it is clear that they were taken a very long time ago. Even though the photos had been submerged in water for quite some time now, they were still in great condition.
Impossible To Know
Still, it was not possible to know for sure who the purse belonged to before opening up the most secretive and personal compartment they could find. Once they did this, they not only figured out who the purse belonged to, but where she went to school, too.
When they opened another section of the bag, Ben and Brodie noticed more photos. They were stuck together and the boys had to separate them very carefully. They let the photos sit flat to air out and the boys began inspecting them for clues. One photo, in particular, caught their eyes immediately.
They Rang The Authorities
When they looked at this photo is when they noticed a very familiar face looking back at them. Both of them sprung up out of their chairs and couldn’t believe what they were looking at. Ben knew immediately that he needed to get the cops involved, so he picked up his phone and dialed 911.
Brodie thought the woman in the photo looked familiar, and Ben thought from the second he saw the photo that he knew who this woman was. Ben said to ABC News, “She was a friend of the family. I went to school with her nephew, but I haven’t seen her in ten years.”
How did an entire purse end up at the bottom of the lake? How long had it been there for? It had to have been many years, looking at these photos. When Ben realized this could be a criminal case, he got nervous that he’d get in trouble for tampering with evidence. After all, he didn’t know what happened to this woman or what happened to her bag.
Finding The Woman
After explaining their discovery to the police, Ben took to Facebook to try to find someone who was related to this woman. He found her nephew online, and he messaged him. He couldn’t believe that after all these years someone found her bag at the bottom of the lake.
He called his aunt immediately and let her know about the discovery that had been made out on the water today. The woman nearly hung up the phone because she was so shocked that she thought her nephew was trying to pull a practical joke on her!
The Purse’s Owner
49-year-old April Bolt was the proud owner of this purse, and she was more surprised than anyone when they told her that it wad been found. She even explained, “I couldn’t believe it. I was lost for words. You never think you’d see it again.”
The Test Of Time
The purse had been missing since 2002… that’s an entire 27 years that this purse was missing for! Given what a long time this is, the bag was actually in amazing condition. It’s brag-worthy in itself that the paper items in the bag were still intact after 27 years underwater.
Though this purse had just been living at the bottom of a 29-foot lake for 27 years, everything inside was in perfect condition because the bag was sealed shut. The lipsticks, photos, hair comb, and everything else inside the bag was left in great shape.
Despite being happy that the purse had been discovered, April couldn’t help but explain that she had always thought the bag disappeared under mysterious circumstances. What exactly did she mean by this? Ben and Brodie had assumed she simply dropped it overboard or something accidental like this.
In the summer of 1992, April went to a cookout at Lake Hartwell. She said, “We were on the boat and my parents had a condo there and we were grilling burgers and we parked the boat in the slip.” What happened after this, though?
My Bag Is Gone!
“…There were two guys there fishing and – I hate to accuse anybody – but when we got back I was like, ‘My pocketbook is gone!’” It seemed to make perfect sense to April that the two men whom she did not recognize were the ones guilty of stealing her stuff.
When this happened, April was devastated. “I was crying… It wasn’t a whole lot of cash – maybe like $60. But a woman fits her whole life in her purse. It was devastating,” she explained. Just the idea of having to go get a new ID and order new credit cards from the bank was hard enough to think about.
They always say it’s the little things that you miss, most, and April can attest to that first-hand. She remembered, “My favorite lipstick was in there and the color was discontinued.” For the fact that the lipstick was living underwater for 27 years, it still looks like it’s in pretty good shape!
What Was Hiding In There?
It actually wasn’t the money or the lipstick that made April so sad about losing her purse; there was something in her bag that was so important to her that money could never pay to replace in a situation like this. What did she have in her purse that was so valuable?
One of the items that Ben and Brodie had discovered in April’s bag were baby photos of her son. 27 years ago, photos were not like they are today where you can make tons of copies easily. Most of the time, people had only one copy of a photo, which was the case here, and is why the photo was so cherished by April.
April said, with tears filling up in her eyes, “My son is 26 now, but he was 15 months then, and I had all his photos that were professionally taken in my wallet. They have water damage but you can still make him out.”
When Ben and Brodie were asked to speak about their amazing discovery on this day, they still could not find the right words to say for what had just happened. Ben explained to ABC News, “It was pretty wild,” he continued, “You fish up a purse – for one – then you actually know whose it was…”
Not As Thrilled
Even with this great discovery, Brodie was less than amused that he caught something other than a fish. We can’t blame him for feeling this way, especially because he is only 11 years old, but we’re sure that he will look back on this one day and realize what a great thing he got to be a part of.
It was no secret whatsoever that Ben was disappointed by the fact that he had just reeled in a purse and not a fish, and Ben saw the look on his face right away, but he took it with a grain of salt. Laughing, Ben said, “I told him, ‘You ain’t got no fish, you got a treasure!’”
Over 2 Decades
The more important thing here is how did April feel to be reunited with her belongings after they had been missing for over two decades? We’re sure she couldn’t have been more thrilled. Being reunited with something after it’s been gone for so long is always a great feeling.
April explained that finding her old purse “meant the world to her,” even though she still has a few questions that have not been answered. April thought she would never see this bag again, so the fact that she did came as a huge surprise to her.
Was April’s purse actually stolen all those years ago, or did something else happen to it? Perhaps it had accidentally fallen overboard and she thought someone stole it. After all, what are the odds that it was discovered on the same lake as it was stolen from to begin with?
Who Stole It?
If it was stolen, who does she think took it? Did someone want her purse so badly that they would go through such great lengths to obtain it? Even though she knows that the odds are slim of her ever finding out what actually happened, she said that even today she thinks about the possibilities sometimes.
April was also wondering why the world gave the purse back to her. Of course, the boy found it and returned it to its rightful owner, but why did the universe think that it was time for April to get this purse back after nearly 30 years of living without it?
“Everyone keeps telling me, ‘There’s got to be a meaning to why you’re finding this so many years later,’” she said. “I’m sure God will reveal that in time.” Until that happens, April is simply enjoying going down memory lane now that she has all of the contents of her old bag back with her. She exclaimed, “It’s just so precious to have it back.”
It’s unlikely that her son had ever laid eyes on any of these photos before, either. We are sure that it was cool for him to be able to look at the photos and be brought back in time to when he was a small child. We bet he may have been even more excited than his mom.
Mike never thought he was the kind of person to find buried treasure. His heart was racing as he realized he may have made a discovery; he never thought this day would be so different from any other day he spent looking around outside. This time, he had to end up getting the authorities involved!