Loudoun County

Virginia Woman's Purse, Keepsakes Found 18 Years After Being Stolen

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Police found a Virginia woman's purse and the precious keepsakes from her grandfather that it carried almost two decades after they were stolen.

Mary Jane DeGrand’s purse was stolen out of her car in Woodbridge 18 years ago.

“It really, really upset me," she said. "Not because of all the other stuff that’s in there. What really was in my mind is my grandfather’s things that were in my purse.”

Her grandfather gave her a hard copy of a photo before he died. She also kept some artifacts from his funeral.

She said she filed a police report, but the purse wasn’t found.

“I guess my purse was never found and that was it, and every year when my grandfather’s death anniversary comes up, it kills me,” she said.

But out of the blue Monday, Prince William County Police Officer Sean Richards told her he found her purse in a muddy creek while investigating another case.

“I said, ‘Please do me a favor? Look in the pocket. Is there a picture of my grandfather in there?’” DeGrand said. “And he was like, 'Yes.' That was it. I cried.”

Except for cash, nothing was missing.

Though dirty and aged her grandfather’s photo and the artifacts she kept from him are home in Aldie.

“I still get emotional,” she said.

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