Source AP ©

US high school graduate's class ring found in ocean off Mariana Islands

When Jessica Spinks last saw her Alton High School class ring, she had been swimming off the South Pacific island of Saipan.

The 2000 graduate figured when she lost the ring in the ocean that it was lost forever. Until Thursday, when Spinks, who now lives in England, got a long-distance telephone call from her mother.

"I actually woke her up," Helen Spinks told the (Alton) Telegraph for a story published on its Web site. "I told her they had found her ring. She said, 'Whoa! What?"'

Greg Moretti found the ring, engraved with Spinks' name, while scuba diving a month ago off of the coast of the northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory.

Moretti struck out trying to find Spinks over the Internet and contacted the Alton School District by e-mail and sent it the ring, which ended up in the possession of Chris Norman, the school district's financial services director.

Norman, a former Alton High assistant principal, was unsuccessful in trying to reach Spinks or her family, so he contacted the media for help.

Helen Spinks, who lives in Greenfield, picked up a copy of the Telegraph when she went into town Thursday and saw the story about her daughter. About the same time, her husband, John, called her cell phone and said he'd just seen a report about the ring on a St. Louis television station.

Helen Spinks immediately called her daughter.

"She was shocked. She said, 'You've got to be kidding. Oh, that's so cool,"' Helen Spinks said.

Jessica Spinks had traveled to Saipan during her Navy service.

"She was at the port there and had been swimming, and it slipped off her finger," her mother said.

Helen Spinks planned to contact school district officials on Friday to pick up the ring.

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