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WATCH: twice-lost wedding ring returns, 12 years later – Winnipeg

WATCH: A Winnipeg man’s wedding ring made a near miraculous return after 12 years.

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg man’s twice-lost wedding ring made a miraculous return, 12 years later and an ocean away.

Helder Prazeres, who now lives overseas, was stunned last month to get a Facebook message from someone in Winnipeg with a picture of the wedding band he last saw in 2002.

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“Really shocked not just that somebody found it but somebody took the time to track us down and return it, that’s huge something for us is really amazing,” Prazeres said via Skype from his home in Alvor, Portugal.

Prazeres dropped the ring during a family picnic in Assiniboine Park in 2002. He spent a day trying to find it, but eventually gave it up for lost. Four years later, a Winnipeg treasure hunter armed with a metal detector heard a tell-tale beep, and found the gold ring in a ditch alongside a road in the park.

“It was from the year 2000 and it had the date that they were married and their first names on the inside,” said Art Crane. He reported it to the Park Police, but they had no record of such a lost ring. So it remained in the box of coins, key chains and rings he keeps in his pickup truck for eight years, until this summer.

The topic of lost rings came up at a family gathering, and Crane showed the one he found in the park to his son-in-law, Justin Phillips. Armed only with the two first names inscribed inside the ring, Phillips worked the Internet from his smartphone, eventually finding an old obituary which mentioned Helder Prazeres and his wife Julie. He typed Prazeres into Facebook and incredibly, the two strangers had a mutual friend. Phillips sent a Facebook message to Prazeres, asking if the ring was his.

“Hello Justin, I am actually speechless right now,” Prazeres writes back in the post dated Aug 8. He describes how he lost the ring, and arranges to have it delivered to his mother-in-law in Winnipeg. “I am still in shock, I thought I would never see that ring again.”

Helder Prazeres and Julie Salgueiro at their wedding in Winnipeg in 2000

Julie Salgueiro

That was actually the second miraculous return for Prazeres’ ring. Married in Winnipeg in 2000, he and his wife Julie Salgueiro were on their honeymoon in Italy when Helder lost the ring in a pool. Staff at the spa later found the ring when the pool was being cleaned, and mailed it back to his Winnipeg address.

Later in 2002, the couple returned to Winnipeg for a visit, retrieved the ring, and within days Prazeres had lost it again in Assiniboine Park.

“Going back to Canada, gettting the ring back and like a few days later losing it again? It was really embarassing, I was devastated, really really devastated,” Prazeres said.

The ring is now in the hands of Prazeres’ mother-in-law in Winnipeg, who plans to return it on a trip to Portugal next year.

“Twelve years after, it’s back, so there’s something about this ring, something fateful kind of reason why it’s found,” said Maria Salgueiro.

And what will happen to the ring after that? Prazeres has long since had it replaced. But the original is special.

“After this it’s going in the safe and it’s not coming out again,” Prazeres said with a laugh.