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Letter to the Editor

Writer offers "heart warming story"

web posted March 4, 2009
Dear Editor,
Our family has lived in Johnston for almost 7 years, about 3 years ago we moved just outside Edgefield County to Saluda County.  We were fortunate to meet and reside at the home of the most understanding and thoughtful family.  They have been very kind to us.  My husband and I have 3 boys, two which will graduate form Strom Thurmond High School this year and the baby that is 18 months old, what a blessing! 

Jerry and I do not know a lot of people around the Johnston area as we mostly keep to ourselves.  About a year and a half ago, my husband Jerry rode to the town of Saluda where he went to a small movie store to rent us movies for the weekend.  As he was leaving he saw a sparkle in the gravel from the sun, where he discovered a man’s ring.

Jerry went inside and asked did anyone misplace any jewelry and the answer was no so he brought the ring home showed it to me, it was of solid gold and a very big man’s school ring.  We talked about it for just a few minutes; it was put away and forgotten about. During that time, Jerry was confined to the house due to an on the job injury, myself having a new baby and both of us were out of work.  So we were definitely struggling through difficult times. 

With my husband still unemployed, I went back to January 2008 after having difficulties from the delivery of our youngest son in September of 2007.  I then lost my job in November 2008.  The holidays passed, and the first of the year brought me new employment close to home and great people to work with!  Upon conversations with co-workers I learned of their personal preferences from cooking down to their medical doctors. 

Well, Tuesday February 24, 2009 my husband, still at home with his medical impairment was cleaning out our night stand by the bed, getting rid of stuff I stash to keep out of sight.  He came across that ring he found and that evening he brought it to my attention.  This time I looked over the ring really good and noticed that there was an engraving of “Dr. Sawyer” on the inside. 

Well, I told Jerry that the name sounded familiar to me from work and I was going to look into more on Wednesday.  I went to work on Wednesday, again forgot about it amongst all the thoughts of my daily process.  So Jerry picked me up to take me home to eat lunch.  The conversation about the ring came up again, so I decided to call a Dr. Sawyer’s office in Saluda.  I spoke to Lonnie and left a message for Dr. Sawyer to give me a call that I may have something that might belong to him, sure enough Dr. Sawyer called me at work Wednesday afternoon and I explained to him what we had and the story behind it. 

He began to explain to me that a ring was stolen off the finger of the late Dr. Sawyer in his casket.  To be perfectly honest I thought it was a joke and chuckled.  He said, really that did happen and told me the story of how much Carolina meant to his father and that he himself did not graduate from Carolina but is sister did. I assured Dr. Sawyer that we had no part in that and how bizarre this is. 

He stated that he knew we had not had any part of the stolen property other than Jerry was the one who found it.  From there he went to tell me that there was much publicity about the incident.  Never, not once we had heard of such. I know, how could we not but really we stay focused on our boys and the home life we have, yes we do venture out occasionally but very seldom and really have not had the means to.  Dr. Sawyer asked could he come by to pick this ring up, apparently in his heart there was not a doubt in his mind that this ring was his fathers.  I said, of course that I will be home around 6:15pm.  When I hung up the phone I told one of my co-workers what had taken place just because I was in such disbelief. 

She said Cindy, you know that is the truth and she remembered when all of it happened. I was in shock, how could anyone do such a thing but I was in a good mood at the same time and anxious to get home to meet Dr. Sawyer and give him peace and closure to his family from losing something that was precious to them. 

It was about dark and Dr. Sawyer pulled up and came inside, what a very down to earth man.  Jerry went to our room and came back out with his ring that he placed in a ring box.  Dr. Sawyer opened it and said; wow it looks just like it did when it was on his hand all bright and shiny. 

See when I called Jerry after the phone conversation I had with Dr. Sawyer he went and cleaned the ring and polished it for him.  Dr. Sawyer said that he was picturing the ring being ran over and was crushed or damaged.  To his surprise it was not!  We talked for a few more minutes and I told him my family’s story about closure and how much we need it ourselves and we were so glad that we could be apart of it. We could very much relate. 

See in September 2003, my cousin Lisa Marie Shuttleworth went missing from her home in Beech Island, SC.  The police think foul play was involved and to this day there are no leads to her whereabouts.  She has two beautiful children and a very loving family that pray everyday for peace. 

We all love and miss her very much, and much thanks goes out to Joy Batchelor for all the effort she has put forth to bring her home while dealing with her own tragedies she has had to face.  My Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Jerry Mabrey need the publics help with any information that may help us find “peace and closure in our own lives”.  Somebody somewhere knows something, please have a heart! 

I do believe that this was fate and things happen for a reason.  I apologize to the Sawyer family for not coming forward sooner, it was just a forgotten piece tucked away safe, but as they say I guess better late than never. 

It was an honor to meet Dr. Sawyer.  We were just paying it forward, as in the movie.   Again, if anyone has any information leading to the disappearance of my cousin Lisa Marie Shuttleworth, please call Aiken County Sheriffs office at 1-800-922-9709.  It could be an anonymous call, letter, or an email, anything is better than nothing.  Please think about if you were in a situation as such, you would want someone to contact you with pertinent information. 


Jerry and Cindy Snipes
Johnston, SC

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