CORNING, Calif. - There is a new twist in the case of a missing heirloom necklace in Corning. The owner, 76-year-old Marion Rowert, was thrilled to get the necklace back because it is made from her late husband's ashes. But the story told by the person who returned it, isn't checking out.
KRCR News Channel 7 first brought you Rowert's story on Valentine's Day, February 14. The widow was distraught because after visiting Corning X-Ray on February 10, she couldn't find her treasured yellow diamond necklace. The diamond had been made from the ashes of her late husband Ron who died 10 years ago.
Rowert wore the necklace almost every day. She took the necklace off to have X-rays taken, and discovered it was missing later after returning home.
After Rowert's story aired Friday night and a $500 reward was offered, someone stepped forward and returned the necklace to the Corning Police Department. That person was a friend of an employee at Corning X-Ray.
But KRCR News Channel 7 went back to Corning X-Ray and learned the good Samaritan's story isn't standing up to scrutiny.
The owner of Corning X-Ray, Jillian Brooks, also saw the story on TV and started asking questions.
"The story changes depending on who you talk to," said Brooks.
Brooks questioned the employee, who told her that she found the necklace in the parking lot.
"Other people say it was found here in the X-ray department," said Brooks. "But in my opinion, X-ray department or parking lot, it should have been turned into somebody right away."
Instead, according Brooks, the employee told her she forgot about the necklace and kept it in her pocket. Somehow the necklace found its way into a friend's hands.
"She realized after seeing the report on TV that it belonged to Marion," said Brooks. "So she asked her friend to drive to Corning and return it that night."
The man who returned the necklace told an entirely different story to KRCR News Channel 7 reporter Jerry Olenyn. The young man told Olenyn he was a caregiver for a 91-year-old man who'd gone in to get X-rays when he found the necklace.
But it turns out there never was a 91-year-old man who had X-rays taken that day. And there never was a caregiver who brought him there. Brooks said that was all made up.
"And he apparently had told police he had found it in the changing area where Marion had changed that day," added Brooks.
The employee no longer works at Corning X-Ray. And the caregiver who really may not be a caregiver may have a lot of explaining to do.
Right now we know more than the Corning Police Department. Thursday night police will be presented with a series of text messages from Marion Rowert's granddaughter she received from some of those involved in this matter.
Until we hear more from police, we'll keep the names of those involved in this matter confidential.