His uncle stood over his shoulder, watching intently as he opened the waterlogged purse. The contents were damaged, but there was one item his uncle could make out, and he was shocked to see it.
He grabbed the photo, wiped it clean, and took a closer look as his heart slammed against the walls of his chest. Uncle Ben quickly asked young Brodie to confirm what he suspected and when he did, Ben dropped the picture. He immediately called 911.
11-year-old Brodie Brooks was so excited when he received his new fishing rod for his birthday. He loved to go out fishing with his uncle and the boys. For him, there was nothing more fun than a fishing adventure.
However, Brodie never thought that one of his adventures would lead him to a purse full of treasure and mystery.
After arriving at Lake Hartwell, Anderson County, with his uncle Ben Myers, they got on their boat and set out on the lake. With their fishing rods ready, they passed the time with some chit-chat.
Brodie waited patiently for a fish to nibble, completely unaware that today’s catch would have to be turned in to the local police.
Getting A Bite
Brodie learned everything he knew about fishing from his uncle. He helped set up Brodie’s rod and proudly watched as Brodie began to improve steadily. Brodie hadn’t caught much fish so far, so Ben was pleasantly surprised when Brodie’s rod began to bend before his did.
But his pride for Brodie quickly turned to worry when he saw what was on the other end of Brodie’s line.
Brodie can recall what happened clearly. “I felt like it was a big fish because it was bobbing my rod up and down,” he said. “I’d just gotten an Ugly Stik, so I was scared I was gonna break my rod. I was scared the line was going to snap.”
Brodie finally reeled in his catch. But it wasn’t what he thought.
It was a purse. At first, he was upset that it wasn’t a big fish like he had hoped. But then he realized it was heavy. There had to be something inside.
Brodie’s uncle watched as he hauled the soaked mysterious object from the water. He cleaned it, revealing a lovely colorful design. As the purse began to take shape, so did Brodie’s imagination.
Imagination Running Wild
He wondered about what kind of treasures he would find inside. Little did he know, there was a lot more than treasure awaiting him.
There was no doubt the purse was old, but there was one item inside the purse that would give astonishing evidence as to how old it truly was. He opened the purse and peered inside.
Inside The Purse
Brodie opened the purse as his uncle Ben stood over his shoulder, watching. The contents were all water damaged, but there was one item that Brodie’s uncle was shocked to see.
“We might catch a can here or something like that. But as far as a woman’s purse, that’s a first for me,” Ben said. “I’ve been fishing on this lake all my life, and that’s the first time I saw something be caught like this.”
Ben was surprised to see many photographs among lipsticks and other womanly items within the purse. Although the photos were damaged, it was still possible to just about make out what was pictured. Ben and Brodie looked closer.
Ben jumped back as he realized he recognized the faces in the photos. Faces that hadn’t seen the light of day for a long time.
Two questions were burning in the back of Ben’s mind: how long ago was this purse plunged into the lake? And where could the owner of the purse be? Ben began to grow suspicious.
He asked Brodie to help him spread the photos out so they could dry. Then he realized he could be tampering with evidence. He quickly called the police.
Ben knew this face. Even Brodie said he recognized it. “She was a friend of the family. I went to school with her nephew, but I haven’t seen her in ten years,” Ben said.
How could this woman he knew have their purse in the lake? How long was it at the bottom of the lake? Worry set in as Ben realized that this might be proof of something and that he was interfering with police business.
After they alerted the police to their mysterious finding, Ben scoured the internet in search of the woman that seemed to have disappeared.
It wasn’t long until he managed to find her nephew, who was shocked to hear Ben’s story about the purse. The nephew wasted no time in calling his Aunt to relay what Ben had told him. What happened?
The purse’s owner was April Bolt, now 49 years old. She couldn’t believe that her purse had finally been found. “I couldn’t believe it. I was lost for words. You never think you’d see it again,” she said in an interview.
She had lost it back in 1992 – an unbelievable 25 years ago! But April believes that her purse disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
April had attended a cookout back in 1992 at Lake Hartwell.
“We were on the boat, and my parents had a condo there, and we were grilling burgers, and we parked the boat in the slip… There were two guys there fishing and – I hate to accuse anybody – but when we got back, I was like, ‘My pocketbook is gone!’” she explained.
At the time, April had been devastated. “I was crying… It wasn’t a whole lot of cash – maybe like $60. But a woman fits her whole life in her purse. It was devastating,” she said.
“My favorite lipstick was in there, and the color was discontinued.” But it wasn’t the lipstick or the cash that April was most upset about losing.
Among the items that Ben had found inside the purse were baby photographs of her son with a big deal of sentimental value.
“My son is 26 now, but he was 15 months then, and I had all his photos that were professionally taken in my wallet. They have water damage, but you can make him out,” April said tearfully.
When asked about their amazing catch that day on Lake Hartwell, Ben and Brodie still can’t quite believe it. “It was pretty wild,” Ben told ABC News. “You fish up a purse – for one – then you actually know whose it was…”
Brodie, on the other hand, hadn’t been as thrilled as his uncle to have caught an old purse instead of a fish.
Trash Or Treasure
The boy’s disappointment was all over his face when they reeled in the leathery old purse. But it was Ben who had recognized the catch for what it was.
“I told him, ‘You ain’t got no fish. You got a treasure!’” Ben recalls, laughing. But what did April think about being reunited with her belongings that had been missing for over two decades?
She simply said that the purse’s recovery “meant the world to her.” But she still has some unanswered questions.
Firstly, had her purse really been stolen all those years ago? And by whom? Secondly, she wonders why it has been returned to her now. She believes that the universe must have its reasons.
“Everyone keeps telling me, ‘There’s got to be a meaning to why you’re finding this so many years later,’” she reveals. “I’m sure God will reveal that in time.”
Meanwhile, she is enjoying the memories that the items in her purse have brought back. “It’s just so precious to have it back,” she happily concluded! However, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
It isn’t unusual for fishermen to sometimes find forgotten items from the past lying on the bottom of a lake or river. Sometimes, their discoveries lead to happy endings, like the one we have just seen.
However, sometimes you can run across stuff way grimmer and more sinister than a bunch of old photographs. That’s what happened to Jean Philippe Robinette in Fort Loudoun Lake, Louisville, Tennessee.
Jean Philippe Robinette
Jean Philippe Robinette, aged 22, was out on a fishing trip with his dad Joe, aged 51. Both father and son are Louisville residents; they consider themselves keen fishing hobbyists.
In their lifetimes, they have come across all types of catches; however, this last one has undoubtedly been the most astounding, and even disturbing, of them all.
Jean Philippe started fishing with his dad when he was just a kid. Some of his most treasured memories were those evenings in different lakes and rivers in Tennessee, sitting with his dad, having deep conversations, or just staying in silence.
However, this day would be different. They were about to find something they would never be able to forget.
The Catch Of Their Lives
It happened in Fort Loudoun Lake, Louisville, Tennessee. At the time of the year when they made their discovery, the water level at the lake where they were fishing was extraordinarily low.
The pair was sitting by the shore. They had been staying there for a few hours but hadn’t caught any fish yet. In a few minutes, they would come across the catch of their lives.
“My dad’s line snagged on something in the water, so he stepped out onto a protruding rock, maybe six feet off the shore, to try and free his lure,” Jean Philippe recounts.
“While standing on this rock in the water, he noticed a backpack submerged to his left, only about three feet deep or so this time of year.”
They Opened It
“We assumed it was a tackle bag someone lost from their boat. It was covered in lures where other fishermen had snagged it,” Jean Philippe continues, with a noticeable excitement in his voice as he goes through the scene.
Then, they tried to open the bag. Nothing could have ever prepared Jean Philippe or his dad for what they were about to find inside.
“The zippers were rusted shut, so we cut open the main pocket with a knife. That’s when we saw two revolver butts sticking out. I thought we had just found a murder weapon.”
“It was very exciting. We figured they were probably involved in some kind of crime, so we called the Blount County Sheriff’s Dept. and let them know we found a sunken bag of firearms.”
Police Steps In
Shortly after, an officer arrived at the scene. He looked inside the bag, took out everything inside, and examined it. Then, he listed all the items.
“There ended up being 4-5 antique revolvers and 8-10 knives of differing types,” the officer recounts. “There were also several stones in the bag, seemingly to weigh it down. Then, the officer cut open the smaller pocket in the backpack and found a plastic trash bag full of jewelry, watches, collectible spoons, etc.”
Among the pieces of jewelry, there was a ring that might be the key to solving the mystery. “This ring, which appears to be a man’s ring, is from the former Walland Middle School,” The Blount Co. Sheriff’s Dept. has now shared on their Facebook page.
“Please share this post so we can find the owner of this piece of memorabilia!”
Discovery Of A Lifetime
“I have heard stories here and there of fishermen discovering crime scenes and such in the lake, but I had not until Monday. I’d say it’s relatively rare in the fishing community because it becomes a local legend every time something like it happens!” says Jean Philippe.
“My dad likes to “treasure hunt” for lost lures, and I have friends who hunt arrowheads and such on our lake beds, but I’m usually just trying to catch a fish before it’s time to leave.”
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.