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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

A 45-metre tall call tower is proposed for Westhills Stadium. (Black Press Media file photo)
New cell tower proposed for Westhills Stadium in Langford

Tower will increase capacity in congested network: staff report

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read