Nanaimo woman’s lost jewelry turns up in septic tank after three years

Young son had flushed rings, earrings down the toilet

VICTORIA — Dani Jacobsen says good things can happen even when hope is all but lost.

It’s the only way the Nanaimo woman says she can explain finding her lost jewelry at the bottom of a septic tank.

“Our motto has always tried to be through the good times and bad times, we believed good times are coming,” said Jacobsen.

“And that has been totally solidified by this experience,” she said. “It’s just awesome.”

Jacobsen, 30, said Thursday she accepted three years ago she would never again find the jewelry after her oldest son, Cohen, now 5, flushed it down the toilet.

She and her husband, David, were living in Salmon Arm in the Interior in 2013 when her wedding band, engagement ring, a diamond ring, a pair of diamond earrings and a pendant disappeared down the toilet.

The couple launched a monumental search, which included David, an underground pipe worker, crawling underneath the house and cutting into pipes to look for the jewelry.

“My husband was determined,” Jacobsen said. “He crawled underneath the house with a flashlight and crawled on his belly to the pipes at the toilet. We’re not wealthy people. He works really hard for the money we do have and it took him a long time to be able to afford to buy those nice things for me.”

The Jacobsens then called in Jake Starnyski, a co-owner of Reliable Septic Service in Salmon Arm, to search the tank, which is not an enjoyable task.

“By then end of two to three hours, we had the tank spotless,” said Starnyski, 23. “They called it a write off.”

Jacobsen said: “We had to kind of make peace with it and move on.”

Second chance

But Starnyski had a second chance to clean out the tank last month after the Jacobsens sold the house in Salmon Arm and moved to Vancouver Island. He said he was called to the home to clean out the septic tank as part of sale conditions for the home.

“I knew in the back of my head there would be a small percentage it would still be in there,” said Starnyski. “Next thing you know, there it is, just shining in there. I was just ecstatic.”

Jacobsen said the diamond earrings and her wedding ring and another ring she received as a gift from her husband are still missing, but she has her engagement ring and the pendant, which holds the most sentimental value of all the jewelry.

“I had a really bad miscarriage and we were really both devastated and he wanted to cheer me up, so he took me to the store and we picked out a Journey pendant,” she said. “I love my rings and what they represented, but losing that pendant was really hard to swallow.”

Jacobsen said Starnyski told her when he found the pendant “it was wrapped around the ring.”