Paris Police Department Evidence staff are leaving no stones unturned.
They recently set out to find the owner of a gold 1984 Plano East Senior High class ring with “R G W” engraved on the inside and appearing to have a diamond stone on the top.
On July 18, 2010, an individual turned the ring into the department as found property.
She stated that she had been throwing trash into a dumpster behind her residence in the 4500 block of SE Loop 286 and noticed a gold class ring lying on the ground next to the dumpster.
Having no leads as to who the ring belonged to, it was secured into the Paris PD Evidence Vault where it remained until May of 2021, at which time Evidence Technician Michelle Melton made it her priority to return as many “lost and found” items as possible to their rightful owners.
She and two co-workers, Beverly Phillips and Jennifer Bacorn, along with their supervisor, Captain Terry Bull, have collectively reunited approximately four hundred items of property to their owners.
Recently, while auditing an old box of evidence; Michelle came across a 1984 Senior Ring of Plano East High School, and began a quest to identify and locate the owner.
Several weeks later a gentleman named Randy called the police department in response to a Facebook post about the ring by Jennifer Bacorn. Randy was able to describe the ring and was thrilled to learn that his senior ring that had been lost for 13 and a half years would be returned to him.
He did not recall a year; but stated that for a brief time he had sold ATM machines in Paris, Texas. Evidence Technician Michelle Melton later met with and returned the senior ring to Randy (depicted above).
The undertaking of reuniting property with the owners did not stop with Randy’s High School Ring. More interesting treasures were discovered in alcoves of the Evidence Vault. After cleaning away decades of dust, Michelle uncovered and subsequently researched the names engraved on a few very old grave-marker headstones. Her investigative prowess and unrelenting resolve resulted in locating the unmarked graves where the headstones belonged.
A gravestone of a Spanish American War Soldier inscribed with the name, “Robert Morris Albright, 1876-1938 Artificer CO.K S Texas Inf., Sp. Am War” was restored to its proper resting place in the Evergreen Cemetery. (depicted right)
This homemade monument (depicted left) with the inscription “Barbara Lynn Hembree” was among the long misplaced gravestones in the evidence property room. A descendent of Hembree was identified, and has been contacted by the Police Department to arrange the return of the stone to its proper place.
A monument for an 8-year old child named Wanda Lee Honeycutt was also discovered. An online Newspapers clipping was found and confirmed Wanda’s identity and resting place in the Union Grove Cemetery. Her headstone was restored to its proper place.
“Chief Richard Salter commends the efforts of the Property & Evidence Staff in going above and beyond the call of duty to restore these markers to their final resting place. They were intended by family members to memorialize their loved-ones and provide a sacred place to gather and pay respects perpetually.”