A high school class ring belonging to a man who was killed in a mass shooting in Plano three years ago was reunited with his family Thursday.
The ring offered only a few clues: The name Darryl, the year 2013, and it was from McKinney Boyd High School. It had been sitting in the North Richland Hills Police Department’s property room since 2018 since it was seized from a man arrested on drug charges, police said.
Nobody claimed it, and police couldn't find the owner -- even after reaching out to the school.
Property management technician Linda Pierce took a personal interest in finding the owner.
"It was because it was personal," Pierce said.
Pierce and another police employee decided to post a message on Facebook with a picture of the ring and some basic information about it.
"Help us find Darryl," the message said.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Within hours, the mystery was solved.
The ring belonged to Darryl Hawkins, one of eight people killed in a shooting during a football party at a Plano home in September 2017. The gunman, the estranged husband of the woman who lived there, was killed by police. It was the worst mass murder in Plano history.
Hawkins' sister Madelyn said the family had no idea the ring was even missing and somehow ended up in the police department’s property room.
"I was just struck. I was like, 'What? It's missing?’” she said.
She said she was overcome with emotion when she went to the department to pick it up and held it in her hand.
"I was like, ‘This is it. It's right here. It's the ring.’ I started crying,” she said. “It was just like a memory. It was very sentimental and I felt like I had a piece of him with me and it was so good to have it in my hands and feel like I have a piece of him with me."
Police said they were about to destroy the ring after nobody had claimed it and decided to make one more effort to find the owner.
"The power of social media is absolutely crazy,” Hawkins added. “But it's great. I love it. I'm so happy to have it back."
The police property room worker who took such an interest in finding the owner said she had no idea the search would take such a surprise twist.
"It was just a ring. Until it had a family," Pierce said.