GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Montana resident Kerry Beasley lost her diamond ring in waters off south Maui last March. Three months later, it was found and returned by Maui resident Mel Taketa, shown in the photo held by Beasley.
Lost & found
Persistence pays off as a woman gets back her $10,000 diamond ring after losing it on Maui
WAILUKU » Kerry Beasley said she thought she had lost her $10,000 diamond ring forever.
Battered by the surf at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve in south Maui on March 9, 2006, her knees, elbows and right hand bleeding, she noticed the ring had slipped off her finger only after surviving her ocean ordeal.
"I was driving back to my condominium and all of a sudden I realized -- oh my gosh, my ring was gone," said Beasley, a Montana resident.
Beasley, who had received the ring as a Christmas gift from her husband, James, 25 years ago, enlisted the help of a man who specialized in metal detection and finding valuables on Maui.
She took him the next day to the place where she thought she had lost it.
"The surf was pretty high," she said.
He made several trips but was unsuccessful.
Months passed and then on June 20 of last year, she received a call from her sister saying her ring had been located.
Mel Taketa, who looks for lost items as a part-time job, said he found the ring in a small lava hole with pebbles covering most of it.
He said he learned about the ring from the man who had tried to do the initial search.
Taketa said he was diving in the vicinity of where Beasley had said she lost her ring, when he saw off to the side a glimmer of gold the size of a grain of rice.
"I grabbed it with my fingers and turned it around. That's when I saw the diamond," he said.
It was in about 8 inches of water and 12 feet from where Beasley thought she had lost it.
Taketa said the ring was discolored in some places but shiny in others. Taketa said he gave the ring to Beasley's friend who arranged to return it to Montana, and had the opportunity to meet Beasley Wednesday on Maui.
"She was so, so happy," Taketa said.
Taketa said he and the man she originally hired received a fee as agreed initially.
But as in many searches, the main reward was the satisfaction of helping to return something of sentimental value.
"That was the object of this search," he said. "To do a good deed."
Beasley said the real story was about Taketa. "It's about the aloha, the character of Mel, the persistence of him trying to find the owner."
For searches, Taketa can be reached at Mel1575@Hawaiiantel.net.