ALAMO, Calif. (Andre Senior/KTVU) - Inside their home in Alamo on Saturday, Haleigh Morrissey called her fiancé Dean Booras into the bathroom remove the engagement ring from her finger that she was afraid would be stained by the sun tan lotion that was applied to her skin.
“I run in there and pull the ring off, rinse it off… and I’m like okay here’s some tissue. Put it on there (and did) a little pat,” recounts Booras, who then describes how he placed the ring inside the tissue and folded the ends together.
Haleigh returned to clean the bathroom a short time later not recalling – at least at that moment – what happened inside the bathroom earlier that day.
“I got to the bathroom and then I was like here’s some trash… throw it in the toilet,” Morrissey recalled about the act that triggered a hectic 48-hours.
Booras remembers the look on his fiancé face after she realized what she had done. “She opens that door and the look on her face. It was literary one of the most horrifying things in my entire life. I mean my first thought was on my god somebody has passed away.
They called neighbor Ken Gunari, who recruited his sons, combined with help from neighbors - launched a massive undertaking.
They rented a plumber’s snake equipped with a camera to find that ring and discovered the pipe filled with roots, which they thought may keep the ring from making it to the sewer main to be lost forever.
They thought locating the far end on the pipe closest to the sewer main on their property would yield better result, if the ring were to be found at all. Using a device called a pipe locator that they had rented from a hardware store, they located the pipe, began digging and eventually reached the pipe.
The crew cut a hole in the pipe and began to flush water through it in hopes of catching it, all while not being certain of the ring was already long gone. Instead of slogging through a pipe that pushed out raw sewage, another member of the crew found mesh and rigged it to fit over the pipe to catch the ring.
“The filter that they made was on the end of the pipe and they pulled the filter off. Dean’s down there here’s looking, he doesn’t see it but I’m above him looking down at it and I see some shinny thing in there,” said Luke Gunari. They didn’t know I had it in my hand… just walked up slowly with my hand open… and they look down at it and they just started screaming.”
The couple was reunited with the ring thanks to a group of neighbors that lacked previous experience in pluming, but were filled with determination to help a couple solve a simple mistake. Morrissey and Booras plan to marry in May.