‘She never takes them off:’ 90-year-old’s wedding rings disappeared during hospital visit
ATLANTA — A woman begged for help after her mother’s wedding rings disappeared following an emergency room visit.
“I never took that ring off, as long as I had it,” said Jackie Allen, 90. “I don’t care what I was doing.”
Allen married her late husband, John, on Sept. 27, 1952. She’s had the rings for nearly 67 years.
“It means an awful lot to me,” said Allen, whose husband passed away in 2006. “It’s something that can never be replaced.”
On Aug. 6, she fell at home and was taken to the Grady Hospital emergency room, where X-rays were taken.
“When I arrived, they had already taken an X-ray,” said Susan Norton, Allen’s daughter and caregiver.
Doctors found Allen’s kneecap was broken.
“They had taken this [necklace] off and put it in a baggie in her bag,” said Norton. “I got it out of the bag and put it on, and then I looked down at her rings, and they were on her finger. She never takes them off and they are hard to get over her knuckles.”
After a few days in the hospital by her mother’s side, Norton left to get some sleep.
Allen said she was asleep after being given pain medication, and woke up to somebody sitting next to her.
“There was somebody, I don’t know if it was a man or woman, sitting next to me, and she was showing me her hands as she washed them, and she’d go up and down each finger with soap and water,” said Allen.
Allen said she doesn’t remember anything else.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” added Norton.
When Norton came back to the hospital, she said her mom only had one thing on her mind.
“I walked in the room and the first thing she said to me was, ‘Where are my wedding rings?’” Norton said, “My heart fell. I don’t know what happened when I wasn’t there.”
Norton said she asked all family members who visited, and checked everywhere for the rings. When she couldn’t locate them, she went to hospital staff.
“They checked with security and checked her chart for notes, and there was no notation that they had taken any valuables from her,” Norton added.
They filed a police report, and police launched an investigation.
Grady Hospital officials did not immediately return a request for comment.
“Two pieces,” said Norton, describing the rings. “It’s an engagement ring with a solitaire diamond, and then two small diamonds on the sides. Then, a thin band with about six to eight small diamonds.”
They said it wasn’t clear if the person who took them was an attendant, or perhaps a visitor in the hospital.
“We don’t want the money,” said Norton. “We don’t want to file a claim. This is an heirloom. This means so much to her that I was afraid it was going to kill her when I told her. They were going to be passed down from generation, to generation, to generation.”
“I pray every day that somebody knows it’s not theirs,” said Allen. “It doesn’t mean anything to them, and as far as the money value, that’s not what I want it for.”