Chicago couple returns long-lost wedding ring after pipe discovery

The chattering teeth and frostbitten fingers of one Chicago couple gave way to warm hearts and good intentions recently when a routine plumbing job unearthed a lost treasure.

While working to fix frozen pipes in their home, Kara Catogge and husband Ian Comes reportedly discovered a long-lost wedding ring they subsequently learned belonged to the home’s previous owner.

Then, with some diligent investigative work, the big-hearted couple fatefully returned the missing bauble to its rightful owners just in time for the couple’s 40th wedding anniversary.

“I mean, these things happen in the movies usually,” Catogge told WGN 9 News after finding -- and returning -- the ring. “It's almost a cliche' that you find a ring in the drain in the bathroom. We have nothing but the fondest feelings about this horrible ice storm; it's a Happy New Year, indeed.”

The diamond and sapphire ring’s unlikely discovery reportedly came after Catogge and Comes checked on a frozen drainage pipe running from their upstairs bathroom to the rear of their house.

"It was just in the trap,” Comes told WGN 9 News. “We just undid it, and it was completely disgusting. And it just popped out; it just popped out of there. I'm amazed it was there.”

"It looked old and important to somebody, so that's when we started the search," Catogge told the station.

The couple reportedly tracked down the home’s former owners -- Louise and Randy Hearne -- who had lost the ring during a long-ago family gathering, and had since moved to Colorado.

"I asked him if Louise ever lost a diamond ring,” Catogge said of her ensuing phone conversation with Randy Hearne. “He said, ‘Oh my God, yes.’ He said she did, and I asked if it has sapphires. He just kept kind of gasping almost.”

Louise Hearne reportedly had never replaced the treasured ring, choosing instead to leave her finger unadorned over the five-year period since its loss. Now, WGN 9 News says she’ll have it just in time for her 40th wedding anniversary.

Click here to read more from WGN 9 News.