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Engagement ring, lost for more than a month in Green Lake, found

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WILLMAR, Minn. -- Tiffany Koltes of Eden Prairie was liberated from her engagement ring July 4 while swimming in Green Lake.

She didn't notice the ring, worth several thousand dollars, was missing until later so finding it in a lake as big as Green seemed unlikely.

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Later that day when Todd Paffrath heard about the lost ring from Koltes' fiancé, Willmar native Jesse Hodapp, the jeweler knew who to call -- Larry Sagedahl.

Sagedahl has an underwater metal detector. He spent part of Independence Day in the water where Koltes was swimming at the home of Mary Cay Hodapp, Jesse's grandmother.

No luck.

As the weeks passed, Sagedahl returned three more times but couldn't find the ring.

Jesse had given up and, with the wedding happening Sept. 17, picked out a new ring.

The water was calm and clear when Sagedahl returned to the scene of the loss Monday.

He could see his tracks in the sand beneath the waist-deep water and used them to keep a tight pattern as he searched.

As he left the water, Mary Cay, expecting the same result as the previous searches, was waiting to kid Sagedahl.

But when she asked where the ring was, Sagedahl presented it to her.

Jesse was all smiles later Monday when he came to pick up the ring at Paffrath and Son Jewelers in Kandi Mall in Willmar where it was being cleaned.

"It made my day," he said, "I'll tell you that much."

Koltes didn't know about the discovery yet, Jesse said.

When asked when he would tell her, he replied, "Tonight."

Then he thought for a moment and added, "Probably."

The West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minn., and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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