June 30th, 2014
Appalled by the depravity of a thief who would yank the engagement ring off the finger of an 87-year-old hospital patient with advanced Alzheimer’s, investigating officer Laurie Graber took it upon herself to help make the situation right.
Before heading home at the end of her shift, the kind-hearted Plantation, Fla., cop made a side trip to buy a replacement ring.
Graber was touched by the love story of Betty Wagoner and her devoted husband, Arthur, who has been at his wife’s side as she has suffered with the debilitating disease.
The couple has been married for 67 years and Arthur remembered purchasing Betty’s engagement ring for in 1946 for $400. He placed it on her finger when Betty was just 20 years old and that's where it stayed — until last Saturday.
Apparently, someone who had access to Betty’s hospital room pulled her engagement ring and wedding band from her finger while the patient was heavily sedated. The horrible bruising on her finger reflects the force used to remove the rings.
The thief took the engagement ring and put the wedding band back on Betty’s finger. Arthur noticed the diamond engagement ring was gone when he went to hold her hand during a visit to the hospital on Sunday. That’s when Graber was called in to investigate.
"After 67 years of that ring being on her finger, she still looked at him like he was her knight and shining armor and he looked at her like she was still his young bride," Graber told Local 10 News.
"I just couldn't imagine what kind of depravity you would have to have to take something off of someone so vulnerable.” Graber said.
So Graber took it upon herself to select a new ring for Betty — a delicate gold ring adorned with small diamonds in the shape of a heart. She returned to the hospital that same night with the intention to deliver it to the nurses’ station anonymously.
The officer had placed the ring in a gift bag, along with a note that read, “It’s not much. It’s not the same, but 67 years of a promise kept should be recognized. May God bless you both.”
The nurses at Westside Regional Medical Center were so impressed by Graber’s character and random act of kindness that they chose to reveal her identity to Arthur and then go to the local media with the story.