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Lost class ring found, returned to Valley man decades later

Posted at 6:56 PM, Nov 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-23 07:59:10-05

As the saying goes, lost things are never meant to be found until they're forgotten. 

"I just said to myself, you know what, I'm never gonna find it," said Derrick Stinson. 

Stinson says the hope of finding the 1995 class ring now the center of conversation on Thanksgiving Day had long passed. 

"I was the first person in my family to get a master's degree, I was the first person to get a bachelor's degree," said Stinson. 

The former New Mexico State football player says it was an accomplishment his parents took great pride in, purchasing him a gold-plated class ring topped with a red ruby to let him know. 

But in just 15 short months, he says it disappeared. 

"I had lost the present that was given to me by my parents, and I didn't want to tell them I lost it and I never did," said Stinson who searched for years trying to find it before declaring it a lost cause. 

The location of the ring remained a mystery for two decades until a Facebook message popped up on Stinson's phone. 

"It says, 'Hi Derrick, you don't know me, but I have something of yours I think you would like back,'" said Stinson, reading the message. 

Stinson could only chuckle at his first reaction. 

"I was like, I hope it's not a child because I was like I already have three boys," said Stinson laughing. 

Then came several pictures of a gold-plated ring with New Mexico state engraved in the top and etched inside the band, Derrick L Stinson. 

"They had had it for a while, tried to find me. Facebook wasn't out at that time, they couldn't find me, but my name was in the ring," said Stinson. 

Years would pass before a woman named Melissa Gutierrez would reveal her brother found the ring at the Albuquerque Airport. 

Her brother had recently passed and they came across the ring again and gave it one last ditch effort to find the owner. 

Stinson's mother, who lives in New Mexico, promptly picked up the ring from Gutierrez and hand-delivered it back to her son this holiday with a simple message. 

"'We're happy for you for that moment but you know what, don't lose it again.' Next time I said I won't tell mom," said Stinson with laughter. 

Derrick says he offered Gutierrez a reward for finding and returning the ring, but she declined, telling him she was just happy it found its way home.