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The unlikely reunion for a Washington state woman searching for her missing wedding ring

The Mahar-Wieser family was vacationing in Mexico in April 2019 when a wedding ring vanished.

SEATTLE — A symbol of eternal love, blending gold from two families’ heirlooms sank like a rock off the waters of Ixtapa, Mexico. There was nothing Lisa Mahar could do but watch.

“I think all of our intentions and things that we said to each other and promises were in this engagement ring, and seeing it go away, for me, was heartbreaking,” said Mahar, who is from Redmond.

Heartbreaking, but not unusual as the ocean takes what it wants. What’s amazing about this story isn’t that the ring was lost, but rather how the ring was found.

That’s where Patricia Mancia and her 75-year-old father from Ixtapa, Mexico, come in.

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“My father has been going to Ixtapa Island every other couple of weeks,” said Mancia. “Every time he goes, he would ask waiters, masseuse, snorkeling instructor, everybody around.”

Her father, Nicho Mancia Reyes, is a fishing guide and was there when Mahar's wedding ring went missing in April 2019. 

“Every month I’d be asking about the ring,” said Mancia Reyes.

He never stopped looking. Mancia Reyes knew he would find it, but then a year passed, and then two. Life doesn’t wait, and 2020 brought COVID-19. And for the Mahar family, it also brought stage four lymphoma.

“This could have went two ways,” explained Mahar. “We could have been devastated and stayed devastated or as Bernie likes to say, ‘Work the problem.’”

In 2022, the family that needed a win got one.

“When my father came home from work that day, he said, ‘Patricia, you won’t believe this,’” Mancia said via Zoom from Mexico. “I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘We found a ring, and we think It might be theirs.’”

“I remember opening that email and seeing the ring, and I was like, ‘Oh, what are the chances,’ and I opened the picture, and oh my God,” recalled Mahar. “My mind was blown.”

Mahar broke the news to her family at dinner.

“I said, ‘This is what’s happened.’ Everyone stops. Their forks stop. You could hear a pin drop,” said Mahar. “They’re like, ‘No way.’ I’m like, ‘Yes,’ and they’re like, ‘When are we going to Mexico?’”

Three years later, the ring is back on Mahar’s hand. Her family is as hopeful as ever, and Mahar’s husband, Bernie Wieser, is alive and well -  and his cancer is in remission.

Credit: Bernie Wieser

“Hopeful optimism, or like I said, belligerent denial,” said Wieser. “So, it’s like, you know what, we’re just going to do this.”

Hope was kept alive by a ring she knew she’d see again.

“Sometimes things like this happen,” said Mahar. “So, if it happened for us, for sure it will happen for others. You can believe that.”

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