A Teen Lost Her Ring With Her Father's Ashes. Strangers Dug Through Piles Of Trash To Find It

July 24, 2023

An Iowa teen lost a ring with her father's ashes in it at a Corpus Christi beach.

A Parks and Rec employee dug through tons of trash to find it for her.

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The rings / Laura Perez | Credit: KIII 3 News

On July 7, Emily Dickerson and her school choir from Glenwood, Iowa, stopped at McGee Beach in Corpus Christi after performing at a Texas Six Flags.

Emily always wore four rings on her left hand. She didn’t want to lose them in the water, so she slipped them into her Subway box before heading into the water.

A few hours later, Emily glanced down at her hand and it was bare. She had left her rings at the beach, including one that contained her father's cremated ashes. Her dad passed away when she was just 8 years old.

The bus was already in San Antonio by this time and it was too late to turn around.

"I realized where I had left them, and I was in a complete panic," Emily told KRIS. "I called my mom and told her the situation. I was a mess."


Emily's mom, Tina Koch, immediately called the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department. But it was a Friday evening and no one was in the office, so she left a detailed voicemail about the cremation band.

She never expected anyone to respond.

On Monday morning, Laura Perez, the park's operations supervisor, listened to Koch's voicemail.

She remembered Friday afternoon, when a bus with over 200 students stopped at the beach. They had thrown the trash bags with their lunches into a dumpster on Coopers Alley.

The dumpsters were usually picked up by 8:00 a.m. It was 8:30 a.m.

She called a staff member who confirmed that the dumpster was still there.

Perez and two other team members began to dig through the weekend's worth of trash in the sweltering heat.

Three hours later, they finally found the rings in a pile of trash bags containing the green Subway boxes.

She called Emily's mother back and told her the good news.

Koch was shocked. She could not believe complete strangers had spent the hot day digging through trash for her family.

"Emily definitely had a guardian angel that day," Koch said.

Watch the local news video below.

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